Posts Tagged ‘water

Hydration: Heed your body’s thirst cues

- April 5th, 2012

(Note: Today’s post is from guest blogger Allison Tai, owner of Urban Fitness Movement.)

Allison Tai says 'you know best.'

I ran a stair race this morning that took me six and a half minutes. That’s right, six and a half minutes. Even the group at the back took around 15 minutes, which leads me to believe that race times were about equivalent to that person’s mile time plus about 5%. I have never seen a water station in a mile race, yet there were two water stations on this course.

As a coach and athlete, I realize that water consumption during exercise can be a deeply personal issue for people. Some cling to water bottles during 30-minute yoga classes, others forgo hydration during two-hour hard interval sessions. But do either of these groups of people need or not need water? In Dr. Seuss fashion, I believe the answer is yes.

As has been shown recently, a 1-2% dehydration level (the amount typically agreed to trigger thirst) is not likely to cause a serious loss in performance. Ask Haile Gebreselaise if he was dehydrated when he ran the world record for the marathon, and he would tell you that he suffered a 10% loss in body weight due to dehydration. In fact, the faster you run, the more likely you are to be dehydrated at the finish line*.

Allison Tai listens to her body.

So what about the piles of studies that show dehydration to be a big factor in a decline of performance? The same studies funded by bottled water and sport drink companies? Well, most often, the participants are in a forced state of dehydration and they are not allowed to drink according to their thirst cues. Of course, performance declines. Yet somehow, this decline is attributed to dehydration (and thus thirst being a poor indicator) as opposed to correctly reasoning that people should drink when they are thirsty lest their performance suffer. Suddenly a major part of sport performance is who can drink the most water. And people started dying.

Enter hyponatremia. Originally (and often still) thought to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from dehydration, it caused a major backlash against “overhydrating” some years ago. Interestingly, the sport drink companies managed to make lemonade from these lemons so to speak — by stating that electrolytes would prevent you from swinging either way. As we have seen from the fact that 30% of all Ironman triathlon finishers have been both dehydrated and hyponatremic, the spectrum appears to … well … not be a spectrum after all**.

So, if I have convinced you to forgo water and become as dehydrated as possible in order to run faster, you have really missed my point. The main problem with studies that look at dehydration is that they are typically performed in a lab under unnatural conditions with a total disregard for thirst cues. My argument is that yet again, you know best. If you get thirsty when you run and you have no water, that likely impacts your performance (not to mention your enjoyment) but if you do not get thirsty, it is doubtful that swigging water will give you game (maybe just a sloshy tummy).

*http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2010/11/15/bjsm.2010.074641.short?q=w_bjsm_ahead_tab

**http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/salt.html

* * *

Allison Tai is the owner of Urban Fitness Movement. Email her at info@urbanfitnessmovement.com or call her at 778-989-1836.

Drink away pounds

- September 22nd, 2011

Just in case you needed a reminder about the importance of drinking good ol’ H2O, here are five reasons to keep water close at hand (courtesy Men’s Fitness and American Media Inc.):

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You’ve probably heard the advice a million times: Drink eight cups of water a day. But “one size fits all” doesn’t apply when it comes to hydration. If you eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, and dairy, and are in good shape, you probably don’t need that much water. On the other hand, if you’re overweight or tend to get most of your calories from salty, processed food, sticking to those 64 daily ounces could actually help to augment your weight loss. Here’s how:

1. IT COULD LOWER YOUR BMI: A 2010 study review in Nutrition Today linked H2O intake with lowered body mass index. Turns out most guys tend to drink the same amount of liquid each day, so if you make an effort to drink water, you will end up drinking fewer calorie-laden beverages.

2. YOU’LL BURN MORE FAT: The review also noted that you can burn up to 40% more fat after drinking water compared with a higher-calorie beverage. Drinking water with a meal also helps to bring insulin levels back to normal two hours earlier than if you drink something with calories.

3. IT’LL HELP YOU EAT LESS: Drinking 16 ounces of water before a meal can significantly cut the calories you wolf down. A 12-week study found that those who drank two glasses of water before very meal ate less and lost 44% more weight compared with the control group’s calorie-laden drinks.

4. WATER FIGHTS HANGOVERS: Staying hydrated is the best way not to feel lousy the day after a party. Drink at least a couple of glasses of water in the hours leading up to your event, then do a one-to-one match of water to alcohol once you start imbibing.

5. IT’LL IMPROVE YOUR GAME: Even a couple hours of touch football on the beach can put you at risk for dehydration and slow you down. A 2011 study found that sweating away just 2% of your body’s water content drastically affects athletic performance.

Drink (water) and be merry (and thin)

- August 15th, 2011

I know I’m guilty of not drinking enough water.

Maybe you need more H2O in your life, too.

Here are some compelling reasons why we should all enjoy more of the life-giving substance (from Crystal Petrello, author and registered dietitian):

press_release_distribution_0226274_42492Water, Water Everywhere: Author of Upcoming Book Explains Why Hydration is Important for Losing Weight

By Crystal Petrello, MS, RD, Coauthor of But I’m Hungry!

TAMPA, Fla. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Registered dietitian and coauthor of upcoming e-book, But I’m Hungry!, to be launched Sept. 15 from Satisfaction Solutions Press, explains that hydration is important to weight loss any time of year.

Hydration is one of the keys to weight loss. It allows your body to give you proper hunger signals, while also preventing headaches, detoxifying metabolic byproducts and aiding post-workout rejuvenation and healing. Proper hydration is important because our bodies are more than half water. Water transports nutrients, regulates our body temperature, aids in digestion and gets rid of waste. So it’s at the foundation of any healthy diet/eating plan.

Your Body’s Needs

To avoid being thirsty, drink eight to 10 cups of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free fluid a day. This equals about two liters of fluid. For those refilling 16-ounce water bottles, this is five bottles a day. Water is the quickest and cheapest way to hydrate. Milk, juice and water in fruits and vegetables also add to daily fluid intake. Water, however, is the only natural calorie-free way to hydrate. (Keep reading for ideas for adding flavor without artificial sweeteners or tons of calories.)

Dehydration can mimic the feeling of hunger. As you learn to recognize the hunger signals your body is sending you, think about how much fluid you have had to drink during the day. There are times in our days when it is more difficult to drink enough fluids due to our jobs or schedule.

Seasonal changes can make it more difficult to get enough fluids. Our desire to drink cold water in the winter and in the summer fluctuates. If you are in the Midwest it may be easy to get enough water in the winter by warming up with your hot tea, but it is also dehydrating you. In the summer in the Southwest it is easy to get enough water because of the heat. But use eight to 10 cups as a guide for your needs all year round.

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Crystal Petrello

If you’re not sure whether you’re hungry or thirsty drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes. This may help your body adjust and help you figure out if you are hungry or thirsty. And when you are eating a meal, choose a low-calorie beverage to enjoy with your meal. About three-quarters of our daily fluid consumption happens while we are eating.

About But I’m Hungry!

But I’m Hungry! is a collaborative effort by a health writer, registered dietitian and editor who have joined forces to help people beat the one thing that often stands in the way of living healthy: hunger.

The e-book includes analyses of hunger, meal plans and weight-loss recipes, and tons of strategies for beating the beast. Visit www.butimhungry.net.

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