Emma’s Health Talk: Hydration

What Do You Know About It?

by Emma Ware

This article is comprised of some interesting facts about hydration according to sports physician Dr. James Batson of Lowcountry Spine and Sport, in Hilton Head Island, SC.

“Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink,” says Dr. Batson. “If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.” 

The importance of recognizing the need to stay hydrated plays a huge role in heart health. If you are well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work hard to pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles, and it helps the muscles to work more efficiently. 

My research revealed several ways we can become dehydrated. Climate is a big factor, and living in the hot South we are more prone to dehydrate faster. 

Exercise, sitting in the sun, outdoor games, stressful jobs— there are endless reasons why we lose fluids, which quickly results in dehydration. So what do we do about it? Before we delve into solutions, let’s explore what staying hydrated does for our bodies. 

Every cell, organ and tissue needs water to work properly. For example, your body needs water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate your joints. Water is needed for overall good health, and as I said earlier, for heart health. The recommended intake of water is between eight to ten 8oz glasses of water daily, but that is not always the case. Some people need less and others may need more depending on their circumstances.

As you get older, your brain may not be able to sense dehydration as quickly, so it won’t send you the message to drink. Sometimes hunger is an indicator that you could actually be dehydrated. A good way to check if you need water is to check your urine: if it’s clear you are well hydrated, if it is colored, you should drink.  

Water makes up more than half your body weight and we lose water throughout the day by going to the bathroom, exercise, sweating in the heat, and sometimes, from illness like fever or vomiting.

So now what do we do to stay hydrated? Water is and always has been the best choice, but with all the different types sold today how do we make the best choice? 

Look for waters that contain minerals without additives. Avoid any flavorings or sweeteners because they could be chemical-based, causing further dehydration. You can add a slice of lemon or orange and a splash of real fruit juice for flavor. Keep it natural.  

Research among the many available sources and be sure to carry some with you as summer approaches, especially when out and about. Stay well-watered and enjoy our upcoming summer season.

Remember, as always, when making any new changes to your health routine, check with your doctor first. 

You can reach me at 843 997-7037, or visit me at the office at 2798-D Howard Avenue, in the Market Common. 

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