Why is Staying Hydrated Important?
Water is an essential nutrient that keeps our bodies functioning properly. Water keeps our hearts pumping blood effectively, our skeletal muscles moving the way we want them to, and even gives our brain the energy it needs to function at the highest level. With the summer months and warmer weather approaching, it is important to know how to keep hydrated. The latest studies show that you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. But of course, this depends on many factors.
Water Input vs. Output:
Water input comes from the liquids we drink, the food we consume, and other metabolic processes. On the flip side, our bodies naturally lose water through breathing, perspiration, urination and other metabolic processes. Both individual factors such as age and activity level, as well as environmental factors like humidity and temperature will influence how much water our bodies lose.
During the summer, we all sweat more whether we are sitting by the pool, jogging on the beach, or playing a pick-up game outside. As our core body temperature rises, our body fights back by using sweating as a cooling mechanism. Blood vessels dilate to release heat and sweat glands become active. The more you sweat, the more water you lose and the more water you should drink. During moderate intensity exercise, many sources said you should aim to drink an extra 1.5 to 2.0 cups of water to make up for fluid loss. Water intake should increase exponentially with exercise intensity.
“Children and adolescents must not be regarded as mere miniature versions of adults.”
(Wilmore, Costill & Kenny Physiology of Sport and Exercise 4th Edition)
Children have immature thermoregulatory systems which means child’s core body temperature will be higher than an adult before they start to sweat and they are not able to cool as efficiently through perspiration. Children should be monitored closely during exercise or activity in hot, humid environments. They should drink up to 2 cups of water every 15-20 minutes depending on their body size, the temperature, humidity and exercise intensity.
So, you ask am I dehydrated?
Thirst is the worst indicator of dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! What is the easiest way to tell if you are dehydrated…the color of your urine.
By, Elissa Solomon