Anywhere, anytime HYDRATION Humans are over 50% water, and most of that water is contained in our cells. And the billions of cells that make up your body must have water to live. We lose the fluid in our body continuously through urine and stools, from evaporation through the skin and simply by breathing. We therefore need to replace a lot of water every day. Especially if you exercise or live in a warm climate or on high altitude. Sometimes lack of water can cause headaches, impair short-term memory or visual motor skills. Water keeps us well hydrated to regulate our body temperature, remove waste, and help nutrients be absorbed. All our organs depend on water- brain cells, lungs, kidneys and the liver. To understand how much water you should be drinking, you need to understand how water works in your body. The best way to remember to drink fluids and keep hydrated is to carry your refillable water bottle as a reminder. Easy and portable, it can become your body’s best friend. DRINKING WATER IS THE BEST WAY TO BALANCE YOUR BODY FLUIDS Water is vital for the function of digestion, absorption, creating saliva, moving nutrients through the body, circulation and how our body temperature is maintained. “Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves”, says Dr. Steven Guest, MD, professor of medicine at Stanford University and a practicing nephrologist. “When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty”, Guest says, “you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee – anything but alcohol”. Guest adds that alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration. CALORIE CONTROL WITH WATER What works with water is that it is a great substitute for caloric beverages especially those loaded with sugar. If you eat a balanced diet higher in water rich foods like fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and beans and drink a non-caloric drink or water you’ll probably notice the difference. YOUR MUSCLES CAN BE ENERGIZED WITH WATER “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Dr. Guest. Drinking fluids is important when exercising. Drink water at regular intervals, before, during and after physical activity to replace fluids you lose when sweating. HAVE GOOD LOOKING SKIN WITH WATER Your skin contains a lot of water and functions as a protective barrier to excessive fluid loss. Dehydration makes your skin dry and look more wrinkled. Being hydrated is important for good healthy skin. Food is digested in our bodies but water is absorbed into our system. YOUR KIDNEYS NEED WATER Toxins, which are in water-soluble waste pass through the kidneys and are excreted in the urine. Your kidneys do a great job of this and body fluids are constantly transporting waste products in and out of cells. When you are not getting enough fluids, your urine is more concentrated hence the darker color and odor. If you drink too little, you might be at risk for kidney stones as well. The kidneys need a lot of water to filter out toxins, it is also important to know what kind of water you are drinking and to remove harmful contaminants before they go through our own body filter. MAKE DRINKING WATER A DAILY PRACTICE Dr. Angela Mueller, who holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor’s in Health and Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine, recommends daily hydration rituals that are independent of thirst to all her patients. She believes it is best to make hydration part of your daily lifestyle instead of trying to “pre-hydrate” a few hours before exercise. IMPROVE YOUR GOLF GAME: HYDRATE Water keeps your mind clear, your eyes moist, your muscles working and your joints lubricated. Without it, your golf game may just go way off course. If you’re like most golfers, you usually play a round while dehydrated. But being dehydrated can wreak havoc on your game. Studies show a 48% decline in shot accuracy, 11% in shot distance, and 6% in muscle strength. Staying hydrated can help reduce existing back pain—and even prevent back pain from developing in the first place. Why? Because the fibrocartilage that protects the discs in your spine from rubbing against one another is made mostly of water. Being dehydrated can therefore make back pain worse. It can also cause headaches, fatigue, poor hand-eye and motor coordination as well as impair decision-making processes. HYDRATE BEFORE AND AFTER YOGA Thinking about giving hot yoga a go? Be sure to hydrate properly and strip down to the bare essentials. Even if you don’t plan to subject yourself to 105°F (40.5°C) temperatures, it’s wise to stay properly hydrated for any yoga class—or any activity. Here’s why. As with any activity, it’s best to hydrate. Muscle strength, endurance and energy depend on proper hydration. Otherwise, you risk nausea, headaches, muscle cramping, and lightheadedness—not fun when dripping sweat in your downward dog pose. Drink often, don’t get thirsty Most yogis know that proper hydration is key to well-being—especially before a hot yoga session. Drinking water is best to regulate your body temperature and to get rid of generated through exercise. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that women and men drink at least 91 and 125 ounces of water a day, respectively. But keep in mind to drink before you get thirsty. Once you are thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Yoga your way Yoga philosophies and practices are many—from Bikram (hot), Hatha and Iyengar to Kundalini, Vinyasa and Yin. Whichever type you practice, there are a few common-sense hydration tips to consider: Up to 24 hours before your hot yoga class, sip on water all day to stay hydrated up until you step into the studio. At least two hours before class, drink a glass or two of water with a meal or snack – and be sure to include high-water-content fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber, and tomatoes. Don’t chug a bottle of water just before or during your session; too much water causes discomfort. Sweat (and you’ll sweat a lot) reduces the water levels in your body, so rehydrating after class is just as important.