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Optimum Hydration

When exercising at any of our Active Gyms in Jersey, it is important to stay hydrated, this article outlines what is required to keep the right balance of hydration throughout the day.

We can survive without food for up to a month but can only go 3 days without fluids. Drinking fluids provides us with the most important nutrients that our body needs. 

How much fluid do we need?

The body loses about 1.5 litres a day through the skin, lungs, digestive tract and via the kidneys as urine.

We make about 1/3rd of a litre per day when glucose is burnt for energy. Therefore the minimum we need per day is 1 litre. Ideal is 2 litres per day.

How can we achieve the correct balance?

Fruit and vegetables consist of around 90% water and provide it in a form easily used by the body.

One kilogram of fruit and vegetables provides approximately 1 litre of water. Therefore if you eat the recommended intake of 4 pieces of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables per day, you are not only providing your body with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant chemicals but you are also providing approximately 1litre of water. This leaves 1 litre to be taken as fluid.

The remaining litre can be taken in the form of:

• Water

• Herb or fruit teas

• Diluted fruit juice (in moderation)

• Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.

 

Water is not simply H20. A typical spring water provides 100mg of calcium per litre (Therefore 1 litre can provide 1/6th of your daily 600mg calcium requirement).

Carbonated water

• Not all bottled water is spring water (read the label carefully)

• Artificially carbonated water actually depletes our minerals (the carbon molecules in artificially

carbonated drinks are unattached and can bind to minerals in the body, taking them from us)

• People who consume a lot of carbonated drinks tend to have less bone density than those who do not.

Tap water

There are concerns over the anti-nutrients such as nitrates, lead and aluminium, contained in tap water.

Levels of these exceed safety limits in much of Britain and approximately 1/4 of all British tap water contains pesticides at levels above maximum admissible concentrations set by the EC. 

Therefore it is best to drink filtered, bottled or distilled water (although filters also remove naturally occurring minerals from the body).

Caffeine

The stimulants in tea and coffee act as diuretics and rob the body of valuable minerals. Therefore they are not recommended as ideal sources of fluid intake. 

• Caffeine is not good for health or energy levels

• It can cause a rapid heart beat and lead to irritability and anxiety

• Caffeine causes a blood sugar peak (instant 'energy'). The body scrambles to adjust this increase in blood sugar by releasing insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal ('slump'). This causes hunger and uneven energy levels.

• Decaffeinated still contains stimulants. Chemicals are used to remove the caffeine.

 

Conclusion

Drink 1 -2 litres of water and herb tea per day (try taking a 2 litre bottle of water to work and drinking it throughout the day)

• Dilute fruit juices with 50% water

• Be well hydrated before exercise and drink an extra litre of fluid per hour of exercise

• Limit tea and coffee

• Drink alcohol in moderation.

Don't use thirst as an indicator of fluid need. you will already be dehydrated by the time your body starts signalling thirst!

 

You can read more about hydration in this article Are you dying of thirst? For a full list of Active classes at our three great centres go to our online timtable.

Written by Active at 11:00

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