Hydration is everyone’s business

Hydration is everyone’s business

by Lady Prudence the Curious (published via email to the Barony of Sacred Stone, June 16, 2011 at 10:05 am)

Here are some tips I have learned:

0) If you haven’t urinated within three hours, you are not drinking enough water for you body to process stuff normally.

1) During heavy exercise in hot weather your body SWEATS FASTER THAN YOU BODY CAN ABSORB IT! Get hydrated before hand. – Your body can actually sweat 16 liters of fluid in a hot day of heavy exercise (say 3 battles in one day at Pennsic) – imagine drinking 16 liters in one day – you can’t. Your stomach simply cannot process it that fast. Another way to think about this is 1.6 liters an hour of sweat (heavy, heavy exercise in hot environment) and 0.9 liters an hour for kidney function. Want to drink 2.5 liters of liquid an hour while fighting? Get hydrated early and often.

2) Caffeine of all sorts is not a liquid for replacing sweat. Soda, coffee, and Southern Sweet Tea are diuretics. They use close to the amount of liquid provided in the beverage to process the beverage. De-caf coffee is not caffeine free – it can have as much as 25% caffeine as normal coffee, but usually hovers in the 10% range. This is also true of tea, and remember green tea also is NOT caffeine free but about the levels of de-caf black tea.

Favorite Drinks (16 ounce levels)
Coffee – 150 to 400 milligrams
Tea – 80 to 250 milligrams
Monster energy drink – 160 mg (comes in 16 ounce can)
Red Bull energy drink – 150 mg (equal to 2 cans – comes in 8 ounce cans)
Coca-Cola – 48 mg
Pepsi – 48 mg
Mountain Dew – 72 mg
Dr. Pepper – 56 mg (yes more than coke and pepsi)
Barques Root Beer – 30 mg (Barques has bite; the bite being caffeine. It is the one root beer with caffeine so you need to see what type of root beer is being sold. It has more caffeine than most decaf coffees and teas.)

(Data on amounts can be found at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372. They publish some chocolate facts as well there. Caffeine levels should not be more than 500-600 per day because of stress on the body and heart; women with osteoporosis in the family have less than that as it can increase bone loss in amount greater than 300 mg (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6631177/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/how-much-caffeine-too-much/#.V1bbKJErKM8). I personally start getting reactions, like inability to sleep, when consuming more than 40 mg in a 24-hour period if you want an idea of what a non-addict reacts to this very, very powerful drug. Doctors ask pregnant women to get off caffeine for a reason.)

3) Alcohol is a diuretic, but unlike caffeinated beverages it actually uses MORE water to process than it provides. Don’t start drinking alcohol after a day of exercise until you are fully re-hydrated. … Unless of course, you want to be a cheap drunk and like a really bad hang-over. Half of what a hang-over is, is a dehyrdation headache. Of course remember comment number one – really heavy exercise can mean that MORE THAN ALL THE WATER you drink in one day goes to sweat – you may not be able to get rehydrated after excessive exercise for a couple of days. Try to find the right balance between night fun and day fun that lets you stay healthy.

4) Water is processed slower and less effectively the older you get. What you could do at 20 is not what you can do at 25, let alone 40.

5) Urine is suppose to be the color of lemonade (I know, bad image). If it is the color of dark honey, that is not good. If it has a red tinge to it, you are seriously dehydrated. Anything darker than honey level, you begin running the risk of kidney stones because the “seeds” start during dehydration (likely not to show up for a few years). Not fun. Don’t recommended kidney stones e-v-e-r.

6) Gatorade has more sodium than one needs when sweating. Make and drink Gatorade at half strength; or alternate drinking Gatorade with water. Gatorade has enough sodium at normal strength to cross into diuretic levels – meaning it uses more water to process than it provides.

7) If you have stopped sweating or thinking – wow, normally I would be soaked through, I guess I getting in better shape, DRINK SOMETHING. Healthy men and women, no matter what their shape, sweat a lot. Humans are one of the all-time sweaters among the animal kingdom.

8) Liquids cooler than body temperature absorb faster at the stomach than body temperature or hot liquids.

9) For normal function, 8 cups of water a day is a fallacy. That is the equivalent of 8 cups of water from all sources, including food. You really don’t need to force water in a normal air conditioned environment. Having a glass of liquid with each of the three meals, and maybe one more as “snack” for either morning or afternoon should be a good functioning level. Remember when “counting liquid” that those three cups of coffee in the morning do not count and you likely should count any other caffeinated beverage (like soda) at 1/2 normal amounts; when drinking caffeine, you are taking a drug that gets rid of water without proper processing.

10) Children don’t store water or process it the same as adults. Their stomachs are smaller too. In a hot environment, keep them drinking small sips throughout the day. Just put a cup in their hands ever so often and they should willingly drink. (Watch out for older people as well.)

11) Dehydration includes mental impairment after a while. So monitor yourself early, because you WILL NOT be able to monitor yourself when it gets out of hand. Be kind and help monitor those around you as well.

Well, I think that is enough advice for now. An excellent article about hydration for pilots is available at http://www.danlj.org/~danlj/Soaring/Clues/Soup.html ; since they are in a non-traditional environment, they need to learn to hydrate outside of the normal spectrum just like us. Excellent information can be found at this webpage.

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