6 Rules to Stay Hydrated All Day Long
Water is a VERY important part of life! The human body is comprised of nearly 70% water, but it will begin to shut down if it doesn't have enough liquid. To ensure optimal body function, you need to drink plenty of water. Here are a few simple rules to help you stay hydrated all day long:
You Need More Water
It's a simple fact: you need more water in your diet! Even if you think you're drinking enough, chances are you're not. Underhydration is a serious problem, not just for athletes, but for all people in all walks of life. Unless you're drinking between 3 and 5 liters of water per day, you're not giving your body the liquid it needs. Make it a point to add another 4 to 6 cups of water to your day, and you'll be on the right track to hydration.
Monitor Your Urine
When you use the bathroom, always take a look at your pee. It shouldn't be bright yellow, but you should go for as pale as possible. The average man urinates between 2 and 6 times per day. The more water you drink, the more urine you will expel. If your urine is dark yellow, you need A LOT more water. The paler the urine, the better!
Just because you drank two liters of water 8 hours ago, that doesn't mean you're properly hydrated. In order to stay hydrated, you have to drink water on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one cup of water every hour on the hour. That way, you'll ensure that your body's water levels remain consistent, regardless of how many times you use the bathroom. During your workout, try to have a small amount of water as you exercise--at least a mouthful every 15 minutes. If the exercise is VERY intense, try to drink up to 6 ounces of water every 15 minutes. This way, you'll keep your muscles working well and replenish fluids lost via your perspiration.
Water is Your Best Choice
Don't waste your money on fancy sports drinks or energy drinks. They're filled with sugar and won't do a whole lot of good unless you're working out for more than an hour at a time. Your best option is always plain water, with no added flavorings or sweeteners. Water is a zero-calorie food, so you can drink as much as you want without worrying about weight gain. It's also the best liquid for hydration!
Be Careful with Protein Intake
Did you know that extra protein can be bad for you if you're not staying hydrated? Additional protein intake can strain your kidneys, which can lead to kidney problems if you don't have enough water to flush toxins from your body. If you are eating more than the recommended "1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day", you need to make sure to drastically increase your water consumption. It will protect your kidneys by eliminating excess wastes produced from an increased protein intake.
Know the Risks
Improper hydration can lead to A LOT of problems, especially as you grow older. During your20s and 30s, the most you have to worry about is fatigue, dehydration, and kidney strain. But once you crack the big "4-0", excessive protein consumption and insufficient water intake can lead to kidney stones. You need to be VERY careful once you reach the age of 35 or 40, and be 100% sure you are getting as much water as your body needs--especially if you are an athlete consuming more protein than the average person.