Water Works: Be Kind To Your Body And Drink Up

Whether you work out hard at the gym, sprawl on the beach to catch some sun rays, tackle that long overdue yard work, or engage in a rugged woodland hike, you are going to sweat through summer. It looks and feels gross, smells worse and it can be a little embarrassing, but everybody does it. Sweating is your body's natural response to aid in cooling when its temperature rises. Find out how this good deed can backfire and why you should be wielding a water bottle like it's an extension of your hand.

The Perspiration Process

When you feel hot, which can result from vigorous activity or exposure to high heat, your blood vessels dilate to increase the flow of blood from your body's core toward the skin in an attempt to push the heat away from the core. In turn, your sweat glands kick in, and when perspiration evaporates, this aids in cooling you down. Think of your body as having an internal thermostat. Sweating helps to prevent your system from overheating. As with all things in life, however, there can be too much of a good thing, even when it comes to sweating.

The Distress of Dehydration

When you sweat, your body is losing fluid as well as crucial electrolytes. If cells are deprived of fluid, dehydration occurs. Dehydration is not simply a matter of feeling a little thirsty. Dehydration is a serious condition that can quickly escalate to the point when emergency hospitalization becomes necessary. Some effects of advanced dehydration include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sluggishness
  • Fever
  • Cessation of urination

The good news is that dehydration is entirely and easily preventable, and the power of prevention is in your hands.

Brandish the Bottle

Whenever you plan to be exposed to heat or engage in physical activity, embrace the habit of toting water bottles along. Water contains no sugar, additives, carbohydrates or calories, but it contains pure moisture that your cells crave. Before you call on the bartender for a beer, keep in mind that alcoholic beverages are diuretics, which means that they will dehydrate your system. The same holds true for caffeinated beverages. Just because your morning coffee is made with water does not mean that you should rely on more java to stay hydrated. Have you noticed how much more often you need to make a potty stop when you drink even modest amounts of beer or coffee? If you are heading into the garden for some yard work, take a bottle of water with you and keep it close by. If you are hitting the hiking trail, pack as many bottles of water as you can in your backpack. Don't just carry the water around all day to look cool. Drink it.

Smart Sipping

Always begin your planned activity in a hydrated state. Drink a glass of water before you head out, and this will make it easier for you to maintain hydration. Early signs that signal that you need to take in water include the following:

  • You feel thirsty.
  • Your mouth feels dry or tacky.
  • You are beginning to feel as though you are slowing down and dragging through your activity.
  • Your urine is dark yellow to amber in color.

Do not wait to experience these signs. Throughout your day, make a point of pausing your activity for frequent water breaks.

Remember that you can have too much of a good thing. Refrain from gulping down a vast quantity of water all at once. Trying to take in a gallon of water at the close of your workout regimen can lead to a serious condition called hyponatremia, or low blood sodium. Save the gallon-sized water bottles for your collection of disaster survival supplies, and stick to sipping from 16 to 32-ounce water bottles every hour or so for healthy hydration. Contact a local doctor, like Advance Medical of Naples, for more information.