Hydration

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I was asked to write a specific post about water and how much of it one should drink. In thinking about the topic I decided to do a quick google search and discovered that as presumed there are widely variant numbers and ideas on what should be the amount someone drinks in a day. Of those variables, here are a few: Are you male or female, exercise regularly, pregnant, high or low altitude, dry climate.

All of those surely factor but in thinking about how much water someone should drink I went back again and again to it’s your body. I can’t give you a definitive amount. Much like exercise or how deeply you should go into a yoga pose you have to feel that out for yourself. I will give you my personal experience.

I’ve practiced Bikram yoga for 6 years. In those years I’ve learned to drink more water consistently but recently noticed I was getting headaches after class. I was dehydrated. We use no central a/c in our home, the temperatures are going up and I wasn’t compensating for the amount I was sweating during the day. When I pass through the kitchen I drink another large glass of water, probably 8 to 12oz. or so. I keep doing this most of the day and urinate frequently. I’d prefer to drink a little more water than I need knowing that my body will eliminate the rest. When I urinate I expect to see the color as light yellow or clear. That’s all you really need to know in my honest opinion.

Urine color can be affected by B vitamins which I get in the form of nutritional yeast so keep that in mind. Also after a night of drinking I notice a darker yellow stream. Long term I think urine color is the surest way to keep track of whether you’re drinking enough water or not.

Your body needs water to do most everything it seems and you hear these numbers tossed about that you’re 60% water and so on. What I do know is that I find everything else works better when I’m well hydrated. I eat less, feel more flexible, have easier and more frequent bowel movements and if I do decide to drink I don’t feel as hung over the next day. Bottom line, drink more water, what’s the downside?

Alcohol in particular can take it out of me and over time I drink less. A solid single beer is usually enough for an evening, sometimes even at a party. I have a large glass of water before the beer and another after. I have to drink more water due to the dehydrating effects alcohol has on me personally. Austin is a dry climate and as a party town I think it more important for people to have extra water here.

Bikram yoga tricks me into drinking more water. You simply have to hydrate more due to the water loss from sweating that occurs during class. You’re twisted and squeezed out like a sopping rag again and again in class. You learn, as I still am, to hydrate during the days before class and it builds into your habits.

Long term how much water you need is up to you and your lifestyle. I say drink until your urine is clear or light yellow. What’s the harm? I feel better when I’m getting enough water and of all the things related to health that are complicated water is the one that seems fairly simple. Tea? Coffee? Soda? I say just drink more water. If you have any of those regularly they add to the amount of overall fluid you drink but in the end your urine color should be the judge.

This post is much simpler than talking about what one should eat. Hand to forehead. 😛

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