You’re active, putting in the miles on your bike or your favorite pair of running shoes, so hydration should be a fact of life, right?
We hope so, but just in case, see how many of these facts you know:
1. Electrolytes are important, and so is eating properly. “Anyone suffering from hyponatremia hasn’t had too much water as much as they’ve had too little electrolytes,” said Mississippi Track Club president Jack Ward. “This is usually an extreme runner who pushes themselves to the limit and tries to keep their weight down by not eating properly.”
Drinks such as Powerade and Gatorade are fine for hydration, but experts say not to depend on them alone to keep your electrolytes in balance.
Suggestions: While energy bars are very popular, try a banana or bread and peanut butter before a long run. Both give the body plenty of ammunition to fight hyponatremia and are lower in sugar. Afterward, enjoy a meal or snack of beans, leafy greens or yogurt. All provide carbs for energy and sodium for electrolyte replenishment afterward.
Said author and sports dietitian Nancy Clark in an interview with www.fitbie.com: “Foods contain so many more electrolytes, as well as vitamins and other health-protective compounds. You can easily replace the 800 milligrams of sodium lost in two pounds of sweat during a hard, hour-long workout by enjoying a recovery snack of chocolate milk and a bagel with peanut butter.”
2. Tap water over bottled water. Women’s Health, womenshealthmag.com, reports that tap water has minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium and zinc that are not in purified or distilled waters, and tap water, unlike the bottled kind, has flouride to keep your teeth healthy.
3. All beverages are not created equal. Coffee, tea and soda and alcoholic drinks can have diuretic effects, so they will not hydrate you the way water will. Don’t skip the water because you had iced tea with lunch.
4. Men and women are created differently.
Vive la difference, but men tend to need more water than women. The average woman needs about 11 cups each day, while men should make sure they have about 15 cups, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center’s website.
5. Don’t depend on being thirsty. Experts say that when you feel thirst, your body is probably already screaming for hydration. Drink more when you’re out in warm weather and out enjoying your favorite sport.
6. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We’re told to stay hydrated while exercising on hot days. But too much hydration can cause hyponatremia, which can be fatal. Hyponatremia, also known as intoxication to water, occurs when the body’s electrolytes become diluted from a loss of sodium. The symptoms are similar to dehydration: confusion, disorientation, muscle weakness and vomiting.