How much should we drink? Water that is. There’s a lot of opinions out there, most based on rumors or hearsay. Still, hydrating properly, is a huge factor for both fun and performance. Dehydration leads us down the path of decreased acuity, physiological stress, and is really just no fun. It can turn a great day on the water into a stressor. Not why we get out there.
At the same time, drinking too much water can be detrimental. Over diluting our somewhat delicate system can lead to kidney malfunction and a host of other related maladies. The trick here is tuning in the right amount of fluids for you. And we’re all a little different.
We hydrate in a number of ways. About 20% of our fluids come from food. The rest, we drink. Although most any liquid can help hydrate us, straight water is really the best bet. It’s cheap, zero calories, readily available, easily absorbed, and just plain works. You know you’re getting enough when you’re rarely thirsty, and your urine is a very light yellow. Dark pee pee, you aint getting enough fluids.
Best way to hydrate varies depending on the person, activity, and environment. Minimally, according to dietitians, a 8-16 ounce glass of water with each meal and one in-between each meal is a solid baseline. After that, and assuming you’re tearing it up on the water, you gotta rehydrate. Unfortunately, especially with exertion, we can’t replenish our fluids as quickly as we deplete them.
The real key here, is to maximize our hydration pre, during, and post activity. And if there’s any safe rule of thumb, it’s a half liter, or a pint of water, per hour. Might be a little more or a little less depending on your size, the temperature, and your level of exertion. But that’s about all your body can absorb and utilize.
So next time, have a pint party every hour to stay in the fun lane. Drink up!