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Gooding’s Guide to Fitness — The Fountain of Health
Water is a basic element on earth and for our bodies. Depending on a person’s body fat composition, a human body is made up of 50 percent to 70 percent water, and dropping below this percentage means to be dehydrated, and a dehydrated body does not function as efficiently as a well-hydrated one.
It is important to drink enough water for several reasons. Water helps flush out toxins, helps to prevent dehydration headaches, muscle cramps, and improves food digestion. Drinking water can help improve skin complexion, and aid in weight loss. In addition, a well hydrated person is less likely to fatigue and lose coordination, especially during exercise.
According to The American Council on Exercise, it is important to drink a minimum of 3.7 liters for adult males and 2.7 for adult females per day, most of which should be water. Physically active adults should drink more water than the minimum. Specifically, an active adult should drink 17-20 ounces of water before exercising, and drink seven to ten ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. After exercise is complete, a person should drink 16-24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
Relying on thirst as an indicator of how much fluid your body needs is not an accurate method to remain adequately hydrated. Studies have shown that if people rely on thirst as an indicator of how much liquid intake they need, they will drink only 50 percent to 75 percent of what they actually need.
Due to clever marketing (aimed mostly at teenagers), sports drinks are gaining popularity among athletes and non-athletes. Even though there are some benefits to drinking them, they are not a substitute for water. As a personal trainer, I hesitate to promote sports drinks for several reasons. First, it seems that people drink them instead of water and no drink is more important you a body’s function than water. Secondly, most sports drinks are high in calories, sugar and some are high in sodium. Because of this, by drinking sports drinks, many people consume more calories and carbohydrates than they burn during a workout.
However, according to The American Council on Exercise, if an athlete sweats heavily for more than 60 minutes, a sports drink will “improve performance and help ensure optimal rehydration.” If you choose to supplement your water intake with sports drinks, choose sports drinks formulated with 6 percent to 8 percent carbohydrates plus at least 100 mg of sodium. Gatorade is the closest to matching these guidelines. If you are not sweating heavily for 60 minutes, I encourage you to drink water instead of a sports drink. Invest in a reusable water bottle, and bring it with you to your workout. In addition, set a goal to refill your water bottle at least several times per day with fresh water.
We can live without soda, sports drinks, alcohol or fruit juice; these are fluids to enjoy in moderation. However, water is a basic and natural element that improves our health in a multitude of ways. I challenge you to track how much water you consume to ensure proper hydration. As always, if you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Angie Gooding is an educator and a personal trainer certified through ACE (American Council on Exercise) and owner of Inspire Fitness & Training. She lives locally, and trains clients in a private location in Marysville. She can be reached at AngieGooding@comcast.net or www.inspirefitnessandtraining.com.