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Drink up – While it seems like everyone is carrying a Starbucks cup or a water bottle these days, the reality is that many of us suffer from mild dehydration – often without even knowing it. Water is our most important nutrient, and the body needs adequate amounts to ensure proper functioning. Even slight dehydration, such as a 1-2% loss in body weight has a negative effect on physiological function and performance – such as dry mouth, headaches, fatigue and decreased strength.

Thirst isn’t always a good indicator of hydration needs, but one way to assess your hydration level is to monitor the color of your urine. It should be clear or pale yellow – not dark. Dark urine is a sign that the urine is concentrated and that you are dehydrated.

How to stay hydrated…drink plenty of fluids such as water, juices and even sports drinks. Coffee, tea and alcohol all function as diuretics and can contribute to dehydration, so limit consumption of them. Fruits and vegetables typically are high in water content, so these also can help hydrate you.

Bring a water bottle along for your workouts whether you are in a warm or cool environment, and be sure to use it. Keep a bottle at your desk and in your car as well to remind yourself to drink throughout each day. Your body will function better and you will feel a difference.