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Proper hydration is vital for your body’s performance, as well as your daily heath. This is because, as most everyone knows, our bodies are made of up to 60% water! Water is important for every process that goes on inside your body, and if you’re an athlete or regular gym-goer, it’s even more crucial to stay hydrated.
However, there are times when we all get dehydrated. Maybe you’ve been sick? Competed in a demanding sport? Maybe you had an insanely busy day and forgot to drink enough fluids? Whatever the reason, dehydration definitely happens; and when it does, you need to know how long it takes to re-hydrate your body quickly.
Why Is Hydration Important?
Proper hydration helps every cell in your body run smoother, right down to your waste processes. Your skin looks better, you have more energy, and you just feel better. Honestly, every single cell and tissue inside of your body requires water to run at peak efficiency. For an athlete or fitness fanatic, this is especially important. If you want your body to perform its best for you, it needs proper hydration or all bets are off.
What Does Dehydration Do To Your Body?
Basically, since we’ve established that every cell in your body requires water to run properly, it’s apparent that not having enough water can be disastrous. Most people walk around every day at some level of dehydration and don’t even realize it. Mild dehydration can cause things like headaches, dry mouth, dry eyes, and dark urine. More severe dehydration will cause more severe symptoms, including
- lack of energy
- sunken eyes
- very dry skin
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing
Severe dehydration is actually a medical emergency, so don’t take it lightly.
How To Rehydrate Your Body
First and foremost, when your body is dehydrated, it needs more water. Fancy sports drinks with electrolytes can help, but water is number one. Plain water has zero calories, sugar, and artificial sweeteners to worry about. If you’re worried about electrolytes, you can replace those with water and a piece of fruit, like a banana.
The most widely agreed upon amount of water for most adults is six to eight 8-ounce glasses per day. If you work out heavily you need a little more. The number one thing to know is to listen to your body. If you feel thirsty, your body is telling you it’s time for another glass!
Rehydration Takes Time
If you become more than just a little dehydrated, it will take some time to re-hydrate your body. This means taking time to rest and drink plenty of fluids (mainly water) for anywhere from a few hours to as much as a day and a half after a demanding athletic event or sickness.
The more dehydrated you are, the longer it will take to re-hydrate and feel back to normal again. Even if you feel better in a couple of hours, your body is probably still recovering. Give it time to be sure your body has recovered.
However, a recent study of mildly dehydrated individuals, both males and females of around 25 years of age, showed that drinking 600 ml of water about 45 minutes prior to working out fully hydrated them for the workout. This is great information for most everyone, since a lot of us may be mildly dehydrated much of the time and never even realize it.
Tips For Rehydrating
I’ve already stated, water is the best and simplest way to re-hydrate your body. If you feel more severely dehydrated but don’t want to drink a sports drink, you can add a little salt and sugar to your water. WebMD suggests adding 1/2 teaspoon salt and 6 teaspoons sugar to 1 quart of water.
Note that if dehydration is severe, it is a medical emergency and warrants a visit to the E.R., where they can help you re-hydrate and feel better fast. Once you are released, it is up to you to continue treating yourself with extra fluids until your body has recovered. No hard workouts in the meantime!
Don’t forget the role food can play in your re-hydration efforts. The right foods can supply as much as 20% of your daily water intake. Fruits and vegetables, such as melons, are great choices. Even lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers are made up of almost 90% water. Also make sure you don’t over-salt your foods. Too much sodium in your diet takes away from water that would otherwise nourish your cells.
Once you have re-hydrated, you need to stay hydrated. If you’re an athlete, it’s extra important. If you use creatine, you need extra water to rehydrate after a workout . This allows the creatine to do its job of rebuilding your muscles.
Remember that staying hydrated in the first place is one of the best things you can do for your body. If staying hydrated on a daily basis is a challenge for you, see if the following tips will help:
- Carry a water bottle with you
- When you eat out, choose to drink water with your meal instead of soda
- If you don’t like plain water, add a wedge of lemon or lime to improve the taste
- Invest in a stainless water bottle that is insulated–water tastes better cold!
- Keep a log of the water you drink throughout the day to make sure it’s enough
Whether you’re an athlete or just enjoying working out for the health benefits, make it one of your top priorities to stay properly hydrated. For those unexpected times when dehydration occurs, take the time to rest and re-hydrate so you can get back in top form as quickly as possible. If you give your body the hydration it craves, it’ll reward your efforts with good health and performance.
Author Bio: Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones has mastered a busy lifestyle with work and fitness combined with family life. He writes offering solutions for personal fitness and time management as well as keeping families fit together by utilizing activities and diet. You can read more of Kevin’s writings by connecting with him online; LinkedIn – Twitter