The Hydration Equation
True or False: Our hydration is dependent upon how much water we drink on a daily basis.
Did you guess False? If so, you are correct! Our hydration is actually from 3 key sources with water taking up the brunt of the sources and taking up MORE if we don’t utilize the other sources as intended.
Half of our hydration on a daily basis comes directly from the water that we drink. While it is preferable that we drink water and only water, if you have an aversion to plain water, there are some tricks. Try putting some fruit like a slice or lemon or orange into your water. Looking for a new variation? Take a look at these ideas! Let’s keep in mind that although it’s great to mix things up, the most important thing to consider is getting that water in on a daily basis. This is particularly important during hot and humid days especially if your evenings do not cool down. A big part of the industrial athlete’s daily rest and recuperation habit is to hydrate post work so you can begin your next day on the right foot.
Next up? Other liquids! We can consider other liquids as part of the hydration equation as long as these other liquids are quality sources of hydration. If they contain more sugar than liquid, call it a dessert and add an extra serving of water. Examples such as milk, coffee, or tea are good choices. Adding back electrolytes, especially if it has been a hot and humid day is a good idea. Choose a sports drink or coconut water, ideally without added sugars.
Lastly, we get hydration from food. A good chunk of our daily hydration is made up of the food we eat IF that food is whole. What do we mean by that? It’s not been processed and had added preservatives, salt, or sugar. You may be surprised to hear that an egg is 74% water. Meat is 65-75% water. Fruits and vegetable range from 85% water, most getting up into 90% or more. On the flip side, processed foods contain about 3% water. Highly processed foods have low water and high salt content. Womp womp. Clearly, processed foods do not benefit us a whole lot. We recommend a diet largely containing whole foods. If you find yourself on the opposite side of the spectrum, add more water to your daily diet to offset the difference.
How do you know when you are properly hydrated? Check out our recommendations on self hydration diagnosis with a simple urine color chart. Dehydration takes a real toll on our overall performance whether we are running across a field or working on a production line. Aside from overall health requirements for hydration, having little in the hydration fuel tank will only lead to negative outcomes.