Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How much water should we drink?

Having lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for much of my life, I know what ‘hot’ feels like. Summer temperatures routinely exceeded 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This didn’t stop us from taking long hikes, even during the summer. The trick, we knew, was to avoid exertion during the hottest part of the day (noon to 4 p.m.) and remaining well hydrated. Hydration is not just drinking when you feel thirsty. By the time your body feels thirsty, it is already significantly water deficient. Hydration is an around-the-clock process, especially during summer. It takes some advance planning. Failure to do so could lead to dehydration, which causes muscle cramping, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that people maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids in the 24 hours prior to physical activity. (Actually, this seems like a common-sense recommendation for everyone, everyday!) According to ACSM, two hours prior to exercise or physical activity, individuals should consume around 16 ounces of water and continue drinking water thereafter to replace fluids lost by sweating. The amount of fluid lost from sweating will obviously depend on the individual’s weight, metabolism and the physical environment but will generally be between 16 and 56 ounces of water per hour. ACSM recommends that runners, for example, should drink around 18 to 33 ounces (0.8 to 1.0 liters) per hour of water to stay well hydrated. This means that a couple of water bottles that hold a quart 32 oz of water each will be enough to keep you going strong for at least two hours. The ACSM also recommends that pure water is the best source of hydration for activities lasting one hour or less. After that point, “sports drinks” (I'm not talking about “Gatorade”) (contact me if you want to know the best sports drink proven by the lab test ) that help replace lost electrolytes and provide energy may give additional benefits. Following exercise, individuals can fully rehydrate by drinking around 1 1/2 quarts of water for each 2 1/2 pounds (kilogram) of body weight lost. This should not be consumed all at once but preferably over the course of several hours with natural foods or snacks with no white or processed sugar added.
Health authorities also generally agree that consumption of caffeine and alcohol should be avoided since both of these substances act as diuretics and will increase the amount of fluid loss by urination. Also, advancing age, certain drugs or medical conditions may make certain individuals more prone to dehydration. And I have found that by adding sea water concentrate in the form of 50 to 1 concentrate in half the water you drink per day and in the other half put a few drops 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide. Each can be purchased at the small independent health food stores all over United States but not generally found in a large chain health food stores.
I have found that when most people drink enough water they have much less health challenges in one of the most common success stories is how their pains go away. That's it if you have any kind of pain and try drinking more water.

Ken Anderson

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