As the warm temperatures begin to rise; staying hydrated is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun. Not only is proper hydration one of the most important aspects of physical activity, it’s also critical for heart health. Keeping your body hydrated helps the heart pump blood easier to the muscles. So essentially, if you stay well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Most of us do not drink adequate water and may be at risk for dehydration. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet and headaches to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. It’s also important to note; if you are beginning to feel thirsty, most likely you are already dehydrated.
How much water should you be drinking?
The goal is to minimize dehydration without over-drinking. Adequate hydration for healthy adults varies among individuals based on weight, and how much fluid you actually lose during exercise (sweat). Normal fluid needs for a healthy adult is 30ml for every kilogram of body weight.
Example: Weight 140lbs, take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get = 63.6 kilograms (kg)
63.6kg X 30ml = 1,908ml / 240ml to get = 7.95 cups.
Water is best.
For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated, especially prior to and after exercise. Sources of water also include fruits and vegetables, which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes may be useful for people doing high intensity exercise, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.
Warning signs of dehydration:
Increased body temperature
Faster breathing and pulse rate
Increased perception of effort
Decreased exercise capacity
American Heart Association, RD411, Eatright.org