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Why You Need More than Just Water

A while back, I started actually tracking how much water I was drinking because I was donating blood plasma pretty regularly.

On one visit, I had an issue, and the phlebotomist said it was because I was dehydrated.

What did they give me? A sports drink to balance my hydration.

I had known to drink water, but I didn't realize how much!

Fast forward to nowadays when it's so freaking hot out…112 today in Phoenix…(but it's a DRY heat!)…and I'm sure it feels worse elsewhere where there is a lot more humidity!

How Much Water Do You Drink Every Day?

Did you know that you can still be dehydrated even if you drink lots of water?

I sure didn't!

I usually keep tract of how much I drink, which averages 7 cups a day.

Yet I was still dehydrated one day last week when it got REALLY hot in my bedroom where I was working.

(Air conditioning only works well in the living room…very frustrating!)

I started getting a headache, and had some more water, but the headache was still there.

When the electricity went out because of a storm, that just compounded everything, and when the electric came on & I started cooking, dizziness started.

It didn't make sense to me.

Here's something I didn't know before…not only can you lose electrolytes and fiber by sweating, but by drinking a lot of water…according to Dr. Natasha Trentacosta, M.D., a sports medicine specialist.

Water vs Electrolyte Beverage


Dehydration Isn't Just an Older Person Issue.

Even young kids, especially ones that participate in sports and/or wear a uniform during hot weather need to have their coach or parents keep track of their hydration.

What you need to know if you don't already, is that when you sweat, your body is sending blood flow to your skin, and the sweat is cooling your body.

When it does that, it is taking some of the blood flow away from your organs.

But when you run out of sweat, and stop sweating…(Yes, this can happen), your body…including your organs…start heating up.

I'm sure you've tasted sweat before, even if it was just dripping around your face during a workout.

It's salty, right?

When you sweat, you are losing sodium & potassium among other minerals, along with water, which all needs to be replaced.

Obviously, you have sweat out water, which takes away from your blood volume that circulates throughout your body.

So your heart has to work harder to move your blood to all your organs.

Your Heart Rate Can Go Up

I noticed when I took my blood pressure the night of the storm that my heart rate had gone up a full 20 beats per minute vs what it normally was earlier.

Sometimes, you may notice a slight headache. This could be happening because your blood vessels constrict when there is less blood flow, according to J. Timothy Lightfoot, PhD.

So, without replacing those minerals as well as your fluids, your body will have an imbalance, which is when, if you don't take care of it, you can have heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.

(Check a previous post  for info on heat exhaustion & heat stroke.)

It is possible for you to get hydration from your foods…such as fruits and veggies…they will provide you with minerals as well!

But especially if you are being active outside in the heat, or your environment is hot, you really should consider enjoying a drink with electrolytes.

There are some out there…you might want to be careful to make sure that the drink doesn't have added sugar.

One more note is that according to the International Marathon Medical Director's Association, drinking water with an electrolyte drink DECREASES the beverage's benefits.