Offered by Kristine Waters Ray, MD, CAQSM, Premier Pediatrics
Water is the most important nutrient, and most of us are not getting enough. Water helps regulate body temperature, is vital for our circulation and helps with chemical reactions in the body. Our lean body mass is up to 75% water and we cannot survive even a few days without water.
Odds are, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. It is important to remember that at higher altitude, moisture evaporates more quickly and you need more water to stay hydrated than you would at sea level. In general, water is the best way to stay hydrated and drinking half your body weight in water daily is a great way to be sure you are getting enough. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, make it a goal to drink 75 ounces of water per day… that’s a lot!!
If you are in extreme heat or doing strenuous activity such as hiking, yard work, weight lifting or running for more than one hour, you will likely need electrolyte replacement as well. It is important to replace potassium, sodium and carbohydrate losses. Good options for this include electrolyte drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, Pedialyte). Remember that electrolyte drinks are made to replace losses and are only recommended when needed because they do contain extra sugar that we do not otherwise need.
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