Heat vs. Hydration: Who will win?!

It's awesome. You know what I'm talking about. Boat rides to pier-side restaurants. Beach days. Sun tans and baseball games. Walking the dogs. Walking in the sand. Family time in the backyard. Vacation time. It's Summer! And we looooove it. But with all the things we love about Summer comes one of the best and worst things about it: The Heat. Again, you know what I'm talking about. It makes it possible for us to enjoy the outdoors months before the northern half of the country. It's what makes the South so desirable for vacations and trips! We get to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts for far longer during the year! (And most of the time it's acceptable! Hooray!) And yet, it makes us want to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts more often... It brings family members on vacation which drives us toward the gym for some alone time and stress release. It's what makes us sweat before we even get out of the car with cranked air conditioning. It's what makes us crave that beach body to flaunt in the open sun. What you might not realize it that climactic heat can affect your performance in the gym and your outtings over the Summer. If you've been feeling a little groggy, tired, less than optimal during your workouts and in general drenched from head to toe at the end of class, you might be dehydrated. Climactic heat and dehydration can cause a reduction in blood volume, decreased skin blood flow, decreased sweat rate, decreased heat dissipation, increased core temperature and increased rate of muscle glycogen use.*

That means, your body won't be able to efficiently cool itself and will have limited energy sources, leaving you wondering what the WOD just happened?! With more than half of your body consisting of water, it needs your active participation in replenishing it.

DOs Aim for half your body weight in fluid ounces per day. (But no more than 100 fl. oz at first) Slowly add 16 fl oz each day until you reach your goal. (You can also get pretty scientific with your weight, percentage lost during a workout, etc**) Start drinking water early in the day with an 8 oz glass first thing in the morning. Spread out your water consumption over the course of the day. Add some cucumber or lemon slices for a refreshing and tasteful spin. Look for an electrolyte and sodium replenishment source. (When you sweat you also lose vital electrolytes and sodium. While there are sports drinks out there, most of them have excess sugar and other fillers.) Here is one good option: http://www.amazon.com/EMERGEN-C-ELECTRO-MIX-Lemon-Lime-4-2/dp/B002HWRY5S DONTs Drink a gallon of water 20 minutes before coming to class. (It will slosh around in your stomach and could make you feel dizzy and nauseous by the end of the warm up.) Drink all your day's water before going to bed. Try to slow down before 7 pm (You'll lose sleep and pass most of the water versus flushing out your body's waste effectively over a longer period of time.) Assume that water in coffee, sports drinks, teas, sodas etc counts as water. (Some of these drinks can have an antithetical effect on hydration.)

In and out of the gym, the heat is ever present in the South. Give yourself the best chance for Summer experiences this year through proper hydration. **Still not sure how much you should be consuming or when? Ask a coach today!

* http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance

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