Are you hydrating yourself the right way?
I was speaking with someone recently and asking him whether or not he drank enough water. He said, very confidently, “Oh yes! I drink one bottle during exercise everyday and two bottles right afterwards.” “Wow!” I said, “that’s great!” But, then I asked him how much he drank throughout the rest of the day … and I got crickets. I explained to him that he’d be better off spreading some of the water he’s drinking out over the course of the day, rather than chugging water in a concentrated period of time and forgetting it the rest of the day.
We all know that drinking water is important … remember that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated! Some people also use the rough guideline of 64 ounces per day, or taking half of a person’s body weight in pounds, and drinking that number of ounces per day (so, 75 ounces per day for a 150-pound person). These are great starting places, but because our bodies are so different and there are so many factors that contribute to our hydration levels, it’s really best to find what works for you.
Know when to drink and how much. Listen to your body:
Once you find that amount, though, why not drink it all at once? Well, the cells in our body can’t actually take in as much water as they’re excreting during intense exercise, so a lot of the water that you chug just gets passed through your system without actually hydrating you. Have you ever gotten that sloshy feeling in your stomach while running or exercising? Most likely, this is due to eating or drinking too much all at once during (or just before) exercise … your body simply can’t absorb it that quickly, so it ends up just sitting there until your digestive system can process it all.
Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t drink water before, during, or after exercise – those are all important. But, it may be even more important to spread your water intake out throughout the day, so you can reap all the benefits of proper hydration!
Track your water intake:
I have lots of suggestions for my clients to track their water intake throughout the day – from putting rubber bands around a bottle each time it’s refilled, to phone apps, and everything in between. One product I just came across, though, is the AquaTally, which allows you to rotate a dial on your BPA-free cup to keep track of your intake each day! I love this idea, and will definitely be recommending to my clients who struggle with this.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” -Dr. Seuss