What substance can give you more energy, help cleanse your body and eliminate toxins and keep your skin looking great? It is one of the most important and abundant substances on earth and in the human body. Without this substance your body would not be able to function properly. Have you guessed it yet? Here are a few more clues, it brings nutrients and oxygen to your cells and helps lubricate your joints.
The answer is water !
It is especially important to replenish your fluids when you increase your physical activity, as you lose water through your sweat. Water carries electrolytes, which are mineral salts that help convey electrical currents in the body and involved in proper nerve and muscle function.
During physical activity, drinks such as colas, coffee, tea, energy drinks and high sugar drinks should be avoided as they act as a diuretic and increase your loss of water, which will eventually lead to dehydration.
Are you dehydrated? Here are a few signs of dehydration:
- Thirst / Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Dry skin / Shriveled skin
- Dark colored urine
- Tingling of the limbs
- Fatigue / Weakness / Muscle cramps or tightness
- Decreased mental function / Confusion
- Dizziness or light-headedness
Work on increasing the amount of clean water by carrying a container with you at all times and try to drink throughout the day, instead of waiting until you are thirsty. Also, try to increase your intake of fruit, veggies, coconut water and herbal teas. Increasing water intake too quickly can overwork your kidneys and digestive system and drinking too many fluids with your meals should be avoided. Increase by gradual increments to reach full hydration. Drink anywhere from 6-10 cups a day of filtered or spring water with the precise amount depending on your level of activity, temperature, humidity, diet and your individual needs. You can also try various electrolyte drinks on days that you are working out. Look for ones that are sweetened with natural sweeteners and are not artificially colored. Notes: Since sports drinks typically contain very high levels of sugar and colour, they are not recommended for regular use. Dancers should take note that two major nutritional factors that contribute to muscle soreness are lack of hydration and electrolyte imbalance.