by Virginia Eaton
Playing golf in the summer has some special perks. When you hit the ball on a fairway hardened from the heat it rolls a long, long way. Sometimes it evens rolls in the right direction, which makes me want to do the happy dance. Long roll aside, temperatures in the mid-90s also make the muscles and joints happy so getting that full Michelle Wei-style swing is slightly more likely. However, the heat and sun that make fairways roll and joints loose also dehydrate the body faster that most people realize.
Whether you’re golfing, hiking or gardening you should have a water bottle close at hand. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you consume at least half a glass of water every 15-20 minutes while exercising. The Mayo Clinic advises 6-8 glasses of water every day whether you exercise or not.
Staying hydrated should be at the top of your list of healthy resolves, and here’s why:
1. 92% of your blood is composed of water. The plasma, or liquid portion of your blood, transports the red and white blood cells through your body, your heart and your lungs. Dehydration means thicker blood, thicker blood means you are more likely to form blood clots.
2. Your kidneys and guts need lots of water to process everything you eat and drink. And while it is extremely important to eat a lot of fiber, doing so without a lot of water puts you in a very uncomfortable position!
3. Muscle tissue is made up of a high percentage of water and when dehydrated, muscles do not work well and are prone to cramping.
4. One of the first signs that you may be dehydrated is feeling tired. There is a complex dance with the brain and the kidneys to control the electrolytes in the body and, when those are out of whack, energy levels suffer.
5. Hydration is the key to staying cool. Both your skin and internal thermostat need to be well hydrated to battle external heat—drink more and you may feel cooler!
So now you know why you need to carry that water bottle with you everywhere, but if eight glasses of water a day seems like an unattainable ideal, here are some suggestions that might help you reach that goal:
1. Start your day with a glass of water before your morning coffee or tea.
2. Limit coffee and soda intake: while coffee and soda are fluids, they have lots of other substances that the body has to process like caffeine, sugar or sweetener, and sodium. These may have a diuretic effect.
3. Drink a glass of water before every meal—your digestion will appreciate it.
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Foods with high water content make you feel full and hydrate your inner workings.
5. If plain water isn’t palatable, homemade iced tea (without caffeine) is an excellent substitute.
While it is possible to over-consume water, spending five minutes outside in 9-degree temps makes that hard to imagine!
Listen to your body; fuel it well because your health depends upon it!