When the sun comes out in San Francisco, the city takes notice. The sunscreen and sandals come out, and the sidewalk cafes and running paths get packed. But often something important is forgotten: water intake. Especially when active, water consumption must go up with rising temperatures. The old “8 glasses per day” prescription is no longer one-size-fits-all. Especially if you are running on a dedicated exercise schedule, the recreational athlete should have between 10-15 glasses of water a day. Benefits of increased fluids for athletes include maintained energy during exercise, lower heart rate, body temperature control, improved blood flow to muscles for quick recovery, lowered muscle cramps, and improved athletic performance.
Tips on monitoring your hydration needs
Peek at your pee: Check the color of your urine to determine if your body is getting adequate flushing power. The darker the pee, the more dehydrated you are.
Hydrate before and after exercise: Drink 16 oz of water two hours before activity and the another 8-16oz fifteen minutes right before exercise. Afterwards, drink 16-24oz per pound of loss water weight.
Weigh yourself: Do this before and after exercise to monitor fluid loss. If you weigh less after exercise, you didn’t get enough to drink. If you weigh more, then you’ve had too much. Weighing the same (or slightly less) after exercise, shows that you are an effective hydrater.
Avoid stimulants: Sugar and caffeine are dehydrators. Avoid sodas, fruit juice and coffee, especially around exercise sessions. If you have a sweet treat or an afternoon Americano, follow it up with double the amount in water.
Electro-charge your workout: Sports drinks are specially formulated with electrolytes and carbohydrates to help replace the salts lost in sweat. These electro-charged replacements are ideal for activities lasting longer than an hour. For a more nutritious spin on sports drinks check out the natural brands such as Recharge, Kul Fuel, unsweetened coconut water, or consider making your own!
Electrolyte Sun Tea: In 3 gallons water add 4 cups lime juice, 2 cups honey, 1/2 cup sea salt, 1/2 gallon sun tea (with your choices of herbs: hibiscus, peppermint, tulsi, or lemon balm.) *Mix sugar and salt in warm water to dissolve. Add the remainder of the ingredients and allow at least one hour in the sun. Serve over ice.
Energy Water: In 1 quart water add ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp baking soda, 2 Tbs honey, 1 tsp.