By Erica Moe
The ground is dry and my umbrella hasn’t been used in over a year. It is obvious that California is in a drought. Water is coveted and every drop counts — not only for the environment, but also for our bodies.
What’s sweat got to do with it
You have 2 million to 4 million sweat glands that can produce 16 ounces to 64 ounces of sweat per hour during exercise. Three things determine how much you sweat:
As you become more fit and more accustomed to exercising in the heat, you will sweat more. Active people have larger sweat glands, lower resting body temperatures and sweat sooner, sweat more and sweat over a greater surface area of the body. Increased sweating leads to a greater risk of dehydration.
Water ranges from free out of the tap to several dollars per bottle. People carry water with them 24/7. Containers of all shapes and sizes can be disposable or made of any material, including plastic, glass and metal. Consumer Reports advises that you can save the environment and about $346 per year by sipping from a reusable container. If your water container is more of an accessory than an active hydration system, then try something new. Drinking water with a straw, for example, may allow you to consume more ounces per day.
You can measure your fluid requirements by weighing yourself before and after exercise. Aim to drink enough to minimize weight loss. Drink enough before, during and after your workout to keep weight loss less to than 2 percent of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, try to end the workout weighing more than 147 pounds. Replacing sweat lost during exercise will keep you cooler, feeling better, working harder and will speed your recovery.
Ask yourself daily
Dr. Bob Murray, former director of the Gatorade Sports Institute, recommends that you ask yourself these questions each morning:
- Am I thirsty?
- Is my urine dark yellow?
- Is my body weight substantially less than the day before?
If you answer yes to two of these, there is potential for dehydration.
High tech hydration
There are several gadgets on the market to help you stay hydrated. The HidrateMe water bottle tracks water consumption and glows when you need to take a sip. The Vessyl container automatically knows and tracks what type of beverage you are drinking and syncs with other fitness devices. The Trago water bottle cap fits most water containers. It can monitor your water intake and communicate with you through an app to signal you when to drink. Imagine managing your family’s or entire sports team’s water intake with your phone. If you don’t want to buy an expensive gadget, you can track manually through an app like Waterlogged.
—Erica Moe is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist who writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA, where she is a fitness director.