Let’s talk about hydration or water intake. Doctors and healthcare workers preach to their patients to stay hydrated, drink more water, and drink a certain amount of water.
Why is staying hydrated so important?
Water is one of the body’s most important resources, and keeping your water intake is essential for staying hydrated. Staying hydrated is important as it provides numerous benefits that help your body perform optimally, and when we don’t stay on top of our water intake, our bodies pay the price. Your body loses fluids throughout the day as you sweat, urinate, cry, whenever you go to the bathroom, eat, breathe, or just stand around: it evaporates from your skin constantly.
How do you know if you’re hydrated?
Here are some signs to recognize your body’s thirst! Cramping, fatigue, and dizziness are common symptoms of dehydration, so if you’re experiencing these, drink a few glasses of water! Other signs of dehydration include headaches, kidney and liver issues, low blood volume, shock, dry mouth, and more.
Symptoms you should pay close attention to are brain fog and diarrhea because they can be tricky and may not necessarily mean dehydration. Brain fog has been a more common symptom with the emergence of COVID, and many people who have had COVID have experienced brain fog. Sometimes it can be hard to determine if the brain fog is because of dehydration or because they’re experiencing COVID. The danger of having intense bouts of diarrhea is the risk of significant dehydration because diarrhea dehydrates your body. Our bodies cannot store substantial volumes of water, so we need to consume adequate fluids daily, and diarrhea will significantly increase your water loss. So, it is essential to remember to drink a lot of water during those episodes.
How does age correlate to dehydration?
Age and health conditions are yet more factors to remember when contemplating your water intake, and the elderly are the most at risk for dehydration. Their body doesn’t let them know as clearly that they need water. Not to mention, most of this group have chronic conditions, diabetes, or other health issues that can also put you at greater risk for dehydration. Maintaining that level and your body’s fluid reserve decreases as you age. So, your ability to conserve water is reduced, making it even more critical to intake enough water because as you age, your body doesn’t have the function to keep up with it on its own. The signs of dehydration for an older age group look slightly different. One of the more obvious signs of dehydration in older people is if you’re speaking with them and they keep clearing their throat, smacking their lips, they’ll get this thick spit in their mouth that goes to the corner, and they need some water. It’s important to disclose your medical history to your healthcare professionals as certain conditions lead to a high risk of dehydration; whether it’s high blood pressure, diabetes, or whatever condition you may have, it’s important to ensure people are intaking enough water.
Why you should hydrate after physical therapy!
If you have ever received physical or massage therapy, your therapist will often tell you to drink water and stay hydrated following your treatment. There are several reasons why this is important to getting the most out of your therapy and keeping your body functioning correctly.
Physical therapy is a dehydrating process, and people receive treatments for different reasons. The reason it’s important to increase your water intake before, during, and after these sessions is for your benefit. Drinking more water can replenish your muscles, blood, organs, bodily fluids, and cells so your health systems can function properly. You can change your muscle consistency and soften tight muscles. Staying adequately hydrated will lead you down the road to success with the results you want by reducing the potential for pain and soreness in the days following your sessions.
So whether you have a massage, physical therapy, or other treatment, water is always a good idea for keeping your body functioning at its optimum level.
So, how much should we be drinking?
Generally, the go-to rule is half of your body weight in ounces. Other alternative sources say for women, it’s 2.7 liters, and for men, it’s 3.7 liters. Women tend to have less muscle and more fat than men, so they can store it differently. However, it’s usually that half your body weight in ounces, and while being hydrated is excellent and beneficial, if someone is over hydrated, they didn’t necessarily perform better than someone who’s regularly hydrated. You are the master of your body, and it will tell you if you’re dehydrated, so don’t forget to listen! So, more is good because it’s better than being dehydrated, but it will not significantly impact your performance and healing.
Now, which type of liquids should you be consuming?
Nothing beats good old-fashioned H20 for most of your liquid intake. However, acceptable alternatives are beneficial, especially if combined with water. There are many foods and drinks that can help increase your water intake, especially in the summer. We recommend big hearty melons, as almost any melon will have high-level water content. Another great fruit is apples, so even if you aren’t getting enough water in the day, eating foods high in water is better than nothing. Suppose you’re feeling dehydrated, especially in heat or high physical exercise, and you need a quick hydrating option. In that case, we recommend liquid IV, Gatorade, or Pedialyte to help replenish electrolytes and keep yourself hydrated.
Now, are you ready to make hydration a habit?
If the answer is yes, here are some of the best hydration tips to keep you feeling your best.
1. In sight in mind.
For example, if you have a water bottle in your line of sight, you’re more likely to drink it than if it’s out of sight. Some excellent advice for recovering patients is to keep accessible, visible water bottles in the kitchen, the living room, and your main living spaces. The easier you make it to see and access, the more likely you are to drink. This is beneficial advice for patients after knee surgery, hip surgery, etc., where they’re not moving and don’t have much help at home. They’ll have a harder time getting up to get their water. So, say hey, have this access in the bathroom, in your bedroom where you’re sleeping to make it easier on yourself.
2. Bring your own water bottle
You’re more likely to drink out of your water bottle. There are even some water bottles that have trackers on them to inform you of the amount of water you’ve consumed throughout the day.
3. Track your water intake.
It’s important to track how much you’re drinking, down to the ounce. You often think, oh, I had two water bottles, but you left a third at the bottom of both bottles, so you didn’t have the whole 16 ounces. If you’re tracking how much you’re drinking, you will know how much you’re lacking that day and track the difference from day to day to help your performance. Another thing you can do is track how you feel when you reach that level and how much of a difference it is throughout the day. There are a few apps you can look up on the app store to help you keep track of your intake. You can set reminders on your phone for however many hours where you can tell it how many ounces you drink as a method to track your water intake. It will also remind you to drink your water.
4. Keep track of how much you drink when you eat!
Another interesting way to help with your water intake is every time you eat; you want to set a specific amount of ounces to take with that meal that you have to finish before you’re done eating. Doing this also makes it easier to track how much you’re drinking. You often get through a meal and drink hardly any water when you ask for it at the restaurant. So setting that specific amount can help you avoid this by setting an expectation for yourself.
If you struggle to follow through with increasing your water intake, begin challenging yourself. If you drank two glasses one day, drink three glasses the next and build until you get to the correct number of ounces per body weight. It also helps to implement it into a routine, having one glass in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one at night. Don’t forget that to reap the maximum benefits of therapy treatments and programs, you must be diligent about staying hydrated because after treatments staying hydrated will help your muscles feel better quicker, so you can move better and feel better.