Hydration feels pretty simple at its core. If you feel thirsty, drink something. Drink water, energy drinks or a sports beverage, right? Meh, it's a bit more complicated and a little knowledge on the subject can make the difference between an optimal workout or totally taxing your body and its internal processes.
Depending on where you live and how you were brought up, basic hydration may be second nature. Activity levels and temperatures may also play a role in your relative awareness. But one thing's certain, if you've ever felt the negative impacts of bonking due to dehydration, it's not easily forgotten.
Here are some basic myths on the subject and you might be surprised between the differences in water, indications of proper hydration and why it's important anyone on the pursuit of health and wellness pays extra attention to these vital components that many overlook.
1) All water is created (un)equal
On the contrary, there are many pros and cons to any given bottle of water in your local supermarket and it's easy buy into the wrong ideas. "Filtration" has a magnetic ring to it as a consumer, but super filtered water products may actually be deprived of key vitamins and minerals that are essential to proper hydration. Furthermore, certain processes of filtration may remove many contaminants while leaving behind new ones.
As a general rule, athletes and other active individuals should typically opt in to spring or artesian waters, or reverse osmosis products. Electrolyte-enhanced options may be a close second.
2) There's no such thing as too much water
Wrong! While it's true that most Americans are chronically dehydrated, there is legitimate risk in consuming too much water at once. Hyponatremia is the technical term given to those whose sodium levels dip below healthy thresholds on account of overhydration. This phenomenon is not uncommon with hikers, runners, endurance athletes and outdoor athletes who "pre-load" with too much water and who may drink to combat fatigue mid-workout. Symptoms may include headaches, nausea and a general slipping of consciousness which has obvious risks.
Which brings us to the reality that hydration is a balancing act.
3) Salt (sodium) is not a bad thing
Proper sodium levels are essential to adequate hydration. In fact, sodium is key in retaining hydration. It's no surprise trail runners and treadmill all stars are caked in white sweat trails post-workout. At a basic level, they're losing sodium and other electrolytes throughout they're workout. That's why it's vital you balance water and salt intake throughout the course of the day.
4) Sports drinks are (not) great for everyone
This is a touchy subject. While many sports drinks are well-intentioned, not every product is great for the average person trying to stay hydrated. Firstly, many products contain unnecessary amounts of sugar, additives and color purely for the sake of flavor, marketing and playing into consumer behaviors. Secondly, some sports drinks are beefed up with improper levels of caffeine and other uppers that may be counter intuitive to hydration needs. Lastly, many children and young athletes connote sports drinks as a "healthy" alternative to juice, water and other natural products that simply should not be replaced.
5) Thirst is (not) the best indicator of substantial hydration
There's a common adage within the outdoor space that, "if you're thirsty it's already too late", when it comes to staying hydrated on the hiking trail or during a camping trip. This notion is also along the lines of the idea, "that athletes should pee clear before a game".
Thirst is one thing and parched is another. Generally speaking, hikers, runners, cyclists and beyond will likely experience thirst throughout their routine and many simply sip water to avoid cramps and muscle pain. And the idea that pee should be crystal clear is a bit misleading in that urine should have a tinge of yellow. Crystal clear leans toward excessive hydration. Apple juice-colored urine with a strong odor may be a better indication of dehydration.
A simple solution
Healthy hydration depends on the individual, their body composure and activity levels. While the 8 glasses a day rule is a step in the right direction, it's more of a guideline than a hard fast rule. Here at Nutritional Brands, we recognize the value of proper hydration from optimal body processes, vibrant skin, quicker workout recoveries and more. That's why we've taken it upon ourselves to create a hydration product that makes it simple for all of our customers to fight dehydration.
Pure Advantage Hydr8 is a stimulant-free sports drink formula with 7 essential vitamins and electrolytes that empower proper hydration. Try it this summer or before your next big workout! We know you'll love it!