Posts Tagged ‘dehydration’

Water Is Life

 Photo By: JonasForTheArt on deviantart.com

We have heard it our entire lives.  “Water, water, water; drink your water!”  Well folks, whoever was telling you this, for most of us I’m sure it was our mothers (who know best), was RIGHT.  It only makes sense.  The human body is made up of between 50-75% water.  To keep your body in balance and your components (organs) functioning at highest performance, you need to intake the same amount of water as your body is releasing.  This will vary depending on your hydration level.  Yes I know, we have to worry about weight, BMI, and blood levels and now, another measure.  Fortunately, we as Crescent Fitness athletes most likely live on an island or a peninsula, and are surrounded by this vital nutrient, second only to our other friend, oxygen.  Let’s put aside how fortunate we are to have the ability to walk up to a fountain or faucet at any given time on any given day, and fill our containers with clean, safe and hydrating water.

 Fun fact:  Charleston Water System meets and in many cases exceeds the water quality standards set by the US EPA and SCDHEC

It is no secret (ask anyone who must drive down Folly Rd) that throughout the year we spend many hours vigorously training in the high heats that charm Charleston, SC.  As adults and athletes, we owe it to ourselves to take care of our bodies; during training hours and just as importantly, outside of our training hours.  Do not take dehydration lightly.  Be aware that even if you experience mild dehydration once, your body is now greatly more susceptible to it reoccurring.  Please read on to discover signs, symptoms, and consequences of the ugly bodily aggressor that is dehydration.

UNDERSTAND THE SIGNS

– Decrease/darkened urine

– Dry lips, mouth

– Muscle cramps

– Dizziness

– Headaches

– Decrease in sweat during intense activity

– Mood alteration

– Memory impairment

– Constipation

Lawrence Armstrong, a researcher with the University of Connecticut Human Performance

Laboratory says “your simplest safeguard is drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.”

But as with any other health monitoring you do with your body, this amount will vary per

person depending on physical activity and intake of other foods, blood levels, medications. At

minimum, do yourself the favor of making this amount of water a regular part of your daily life.

A testimonial from a man who learned the hard way:

“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink!”

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(The Rime of the Ancient Marnier)

In this tale, a man is stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean, dying of dehydration. For me, it goes beyond this story. This can happen to us “Land Lovers” too. Just think about how close you are to a drinking water source; a public water fountain, the office water cooler, a vending machine, store or even the forsaken tap! Now just think about how much water you ACTUALLY ingest versus the recommended daily intake. Mind you, it’s the recommended daily intake for the “average” person, not aimed at the high intensity work out artists like some of us reading this. I am not going to go off and spout a bunch of medical jargon about the evils of becoming dehydrated, you can Google that, I am just going to tell you how it happened to me, TWICE severely, and how I still battle its’ effects.

To quickly give you a background, I am not your average person. I am not even a person of average fitness. I am what you could call a person of “elite” fitness status, honed over 20 years of athletic and weight training that brought me from high school basketball and track standout to college recruit, then to U.S. Army recruit. Along the way I acquired the knowledge to combat dehydration, actually most of the time it was a requirement, but even I fell into the mindset of “it won’t happen to me”, and I was a Combat Lifesaver!

The first time I became a victim of heat exhaustion I was 20 years old, a soldier in the arid and scorching hot wasteland known as “The Middle East”. After a day of patrols and lugging gear I had made the miscalculation of how much I was sweating and failed to drink enough to replenish myself in the 120 degree heat. As the medic was administering the IV he made a comment that haunts me to this day. He says “boy…now you gotta be super careful cuz once you get the dehydration, it will always sneak back up ya.” Basically, your body becomes more prone to drying out once you get to this level…JUST ONCE. Just let that sink in. ONE incident leads to a lifetime of stress.

Once I was out of the military I obtained a job as a mailman. Again battling the elements, the cold and the heat, guess what? I got dehydrated in both of the extreme seasons, summer and New England winter! Bet you didn’t realize how easy it is to dry out in the cold did you? The worst of the times came during summer and it required me to be hospitalized. From that point on, I’ve battled through leg and arm cramps, and back spasms due to it. I’ve also struggled through kidney problems, memory loss, migraines, and much to my annoyance, trouble with bowel movements. Any slight variation in my hydration levels wrecks my body. Every time I deal with it, I keep replaying the medic’s words in my head.

Now maybe you are thinking, “hey idiot, don’t you think you learned your lesson?” and to some degree you are correct, but another byproduct of dehydration is that it fools your body constantly. Sometimes it takes 2 gallons to be properly leveled off, sometimes less. Sometimes I drink so much I flush my system and become sluggish, depleting my body of the vitamins

and minerals through numerous trips to the rest room. If I can impart one piece of wisdom to you all is this, you should drink enough to where you are never “thirsty”. Do everything in your power to not become a victim of dehydration. I know it’s hard, trust me, I know it every single day. However it is better for you to take a few extra trips the bathroom than deal with the menace of dehydration floating on your heels waiting for you to slip up.

– Thomas Reilly

An Elite Veteran, Athlete, & Man

I hope this piece has brought new knowledge or realistic awareness to Crescent Fitness athletes or anyone reading that is yet to develop solid hydration habits.  #WhatYouDoMatters  #DrinkUp

Kelly Hydrates

Photo Model: Crescent Fitness Athlete/Beastress: Kelly Butler “Bottoms Up”

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