Beat the heat with hydration

    Water is essential for life, as it makes up 60 percent of the average person’s bodyweight. Before we go on and talk about the importance of hydration in the summer, and how to monitor your hydration status, go ahead and grab a big glass of water, because if you’re like me, always forgetting to bring my water bottle to work, you might be dehydrated.

    Looking at urine color is the quickest way to monitor hydration. Clear to light yellow color indicates adequate hydration, while darker colors, as in the doc’s hued color charts, indicates dehydration. Keep in mind that certain vitamins and supplements can make the color of urine not representative of hydration level. For example, high doses of vitamin B can cause neon yellow pee, or vitamin C or riboflavin that contain carotene can cause yellow to orange colors.

 This year’s three-week race had many days over 86 degrees, and starting and ending the day hydrated was key. With all the time spent outside this summer, it is important to do the same. You want to have adequate hydration throughout the day—make it a habit throughout the day and not just before or after exercise.

    On any given hot day, the heat and dry conditions contribute to the water our bodies lose and needs to be replaced. A common recommendation regarding how much water you should drink is eight eight-ounce cups a day. That’s easy to remember, and a reasonable goal, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, everyone is different, and the actual amount of water needed depends on a number of factors, such as heat and humidity, and individual differences, including sweat rate, body mass and exercise intensity and duration.

    Signs of dehydration are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Dry skin
  • Urine darker than normal

    Make it a habit to carry a bottle of water with you. If you have a water bottle labeled with volume measurements, put rubber bands around the bottom of it. Every time you finish a bottle, slide the rubber band to the top to help remind you to drink throughout the day. Remember also that all foods have some water in them, especially summer fruit and vegetables. What a good way to stay healthy and hydrated!

Printed in the Idaho Mountain Express August 3, 2018 https://www.mtexpress.com/wood_river_journal/features/fitness-guru/article_0c8ba828-9685-11e8-88e5-63d01c110e57.html

Enjoy being at high altitude by staying hydrated

Enjoy high altitude & high desert trips by staying hydrated

Enjoy high altitude & high desert trips by staying hydrated

 

Trust an Exum mountain guide to describe a day where the air looks good enough to gulp. Author and guide Jack Turner has a myriad of words to describe high altitude peak and meadow air: sharp, raw, crisp, and, yes, thinner. Most of us living here are used to the altitude, but there are some things you can recommend to friends and family while they are here to ski this March. Likewise, if you’re lucky enough to travel to Peru or Zermatt this spring, simple pre-cautions can prevent a lot of altitude-related illnesses. Ketchum, like Denver or Flagstaff, Arizona, is actually moderate altitude, (greater than 5,280 feet),and high altitude is defined as elevations above 8, 500 feet (  Baldy, Colorado ski resorts, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Matterhorn, and of course, the highest summit, Mt. Everest at 29,028 feet.)

Nobody wants to start out their ski vacation with a splitting head-ache, and Dr. Keith Sivertson, Blaine County Emergency Medical Service Medical Director, has some good advice for visitors upon arriving here. Firstly, because we’re not sleeping above 8,000 feet, we are not technically high altitude; Ketchum is high desert. But altitude as low as 3000 feet can impose physiologic limitations on the body, and even mild dehydration can compromise performance during exercise. Add to that increased sweating and quick evaporation of that cold dry air, and you’ve lost up to 1-2 liters a day.  Most people, especially those over 60, are sippers, and are not drinking enough to replace their sweat losses, furthering their risk of dehydration. A simple way to tell you are dehydrated, Dr. Severson says, is that you’re not having to get up in the night to pee (and that your pee isn’t clear in the morning).The American College of Sports Medicine suggests drinking two glasses of water two hours before exercise, and to drink during exercise at a rate that matches your sweat losses. In other words, as Dr. Silvertson says, much of the symptoms ski patrollers see at Seattle Ridge, like nausea, headaches, weakness and a heavy feeling are signs of dehydration, not high altitude sickness.

Getting off the mountain is important if there are any indications of any feeling of fullness in the chest, or a shortness of breath, as these can be serious health matters. Mike Lloyd, Baldy Mountain’s ski patrol director, has his staff trained to take no chances that it could be something of a more serious nature.

Evangelista Torricelli, in the 1600’s, was the first person to realize that the atmosphere above us create pressures that could support weight. At higher elevations, there’s less pressure of oxygen moving from the air into our blood, resulting in less oxygen to help our muscles & heart function. Many people experience high-altitude illnesses when they rapidly ascend to elevations above 8,000 feet. The most common of these is acute mountain sickness. Being in shape,( a good idea no matter what), or age seems to have no bearing on if you will develop symptoms either. More life –threatening are high-altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema. Descending to lower altitudes and medical care are a must for these three illnesses.

While you may not know your susceptibility at high-altitude, there are some things to do for your next trip or a longer trek. Try to go a few days earlier, or if you can’t, try to pre-acclimatize by planning several week-end hiking trips to a similar target altitude in the month prior to departure, to judge whether you are susceptible to mountain sickness. While at attitude, stay hydrated, and consume enough calories.  If you are skiing, trekking or climbing at altitude, you can be using up to 300-500 calories extra calories a day The energy used to support body functions, basal metabolic rate, burns up 200 of these calories, so it’s important to eat enough calories.  Savor it all.

Printed March 6, 2009 Idaho Mountain Express

 

 

 

Coffee counts when it comes to staying hydrated

A recent study from the University of Birmingham has found no significant difference in subjects’ hydration status when they were drinking coffee versus water. Courtesy photo by Connie Aronson.

A recent study from the University of Birmingham has found no significant difference in subjects’ hydration status when they were drinking coffee versus water. Courtesy photo by Connie Aronson.

In the  wonderful ending from Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” he lists certain things that make life worth living: Groucho Marx, the second movement of the Juniper Symphony, Marlon Brando. For me, the smell of morning coffee that my boyfriend  makes first thing has to be on that list. Ah. There is now more good news on the positive effects of coffee on health, and the once held belief that coffee dehydrates isn’t so.

A recent study from the University of Birmingham has found no significant difference in subjects’ hydration status when they were drinking coffee versus water. Courtesy photo by Connie Aronson.
A recent study from the University of Birmingham has found no significant difference in subjects’ hydration status when they were drinking coffee versus water. Courtesy photo by Connie Aronson.

It turns out your morning Joe not only gets you going and boosts alertness, but is as hydrating as water. That’s good news for those 1.6 billion cups of coffee enjoyed worldwide on any given day.

In a new study from the University of Birmingham in the UK , participants drank about three and one-third cups of coffee per day for three days in a row.  Then they drank the same amount of water for three consecutive days. Controlling for physical activity and food and fluid intake, the researchers compared a wide range of markers (total body water, body mass measurements, kidney function, urine volume, and blood values) and found no significant difference in the subjects’ hydration status when they were drinking coffee versus water.

Although the study sample is small (50 adult men who were habitual coffee-drinkers), its findings echo similar previously collected data regarding the relationship between moderate caffeine consumption and hydration.

It’s important to stay hydrated and drink fluids throughout the day, and water is still a good first choice. After all, water is essential for life, as it transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, helps preserve cardiovascular function and aids with weight management.

A typical adult needs anywhere from 11 cups of water per day for females to 16 cups for males, according to The Institute of Medicine Water Intake Recommendation. Diet, ( i.e. that bunch of grapes, or apple, full of water) physical activity level, age and environmental conditions (such as humidity) all effect proper hydration levels. For example, colder days impact urine output, and more intense activity increases water loss.

However, during these cold months, remember not to go overboard on the hot chocolate, cream, and mocha’s just yet. It is the coffee itself, not just the caffeine, that is so unique.

Coffee contains hundreds of different chemical compounds. The Coffea plant’s roasted berries, ( they’re not actually beans), has a very strong antioxidant capacity, more so than blueberries or broccoli. It’s benefits are many, including a positive impact on memory, recently published in Nature Neuroscience. Coffee drinkers compared to non-coffee drinkers are also protected from dementia and Parkinson’s as they age, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers and stroke.

While having lots of coffee isn’t recommended for everyone, for some of us, it’s a great way to start a perfect day.

http://theketchumkeystone.org/2014/02/06/commentary-coffee-counts-when-it-comes-to-staying-hydrated/

Water-Plain Good Sense

Nothing can be plainer than water, yet it is a vital source of life. It is an essential nutrient for us, and essential for all living things. Like the earths surface, our bodies are composed of roughly 60 to 70 per cent water. Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs and brain are composed of 75%, 70% and 90% water respectively. We need water to regulate  temperature  and to provide the means  for nutrients to travel to our organs. Water also transports oxygen to our cells, removes waste, and protects our joints.  Yet many of us aren’t drinking enough fluids to keep us adequately hydrated. Although it makes sense that you would be thirsty if you needed water, thirst isn’t an indicator of hydration. By that time, lethargy, headaches, muscle cramps, or diminished performance are all warning signs that you might be mildly dehydrated.

Each day we need to replace 2.4 liters of water that we lose from breathing, sweating, and going to the bathroom. Broken down, we pee approximately 6.3 cups a day, plus another 4 cups of water through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. We can easily get 20% of the water we need through the food we eat. Fruits, for example, have more water than something dry like pretzels. The other 80% of fluid that you need comes from what you drink, and a little more than 8 cups, along with the food that you eat, will typically replace your lost fluids. In general, 8-9 cups is a good guideline, though variables such as your health, where you live and how active you are may vary person to person. A simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is that you don’t have to get up in the night to pee. ( Color should be clear )

Drink more water

I’ve always thought the title “drink more water” would be a no-brainer bestseller. Plain water fills you up. Researchers at Virginia Tech recently finished a 12 week study of 2 groups of people on the same diet. The only difference was that one group was told to drink 2 cups of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is no surprise that at the end of the study the water drinkers lost 30% more weight: 16 pounds to the 11 pound loss of the non-drinkers. The choices of waters with electrolytes, vitamins, sodium or caffeine is vast, and unless you are exercising for more than an hour, tap water, bottled or sparkling water is preferable, and slightly chilled, for increasing absorption. If you don’t really like water, try adding a squeeze of lime, lemon   or fruit slices to make it more palatable.

If you like plain brewed coffee, don’t worry. Once considered questionable for your health, coffee is not as much a diuretic as once thought. It is, if you drink more than 4 cups a day, but recent research shows that not only does it provide liquid, but valuable antioxidants as well. If you regularly consume caffeine the body will regulate itself to any diuretic effect .If you are sensitive to caffeine, as it is a nervous system stimulant, there is a vast array of herbal teas, many with soothing and healing properties. Again, water is the probably the best, inexpensive and readily available choice for hydration.

As the temperatures drop this fall, and you stay active, remember to drink at least 2 cups of fluid approximately 2 hours before you exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink at least half a cup of water every 15 minutes during exercise. Whether you’re in spin class, hiking or practicing a vinyasa flow sequence, also drink another 2 cups of fluid for every pound you lose during exercise. A lot of water, I know, but it is the stuff of life. A simple prescription for a  happy healthy hydrated life.

Connie Aronson is American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health and Fitness Specialist , currently in the Mediterranean Sea enjoying the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy high altitude by staying hydrated

Enjoy high altitude & high desert trips by staying hydrated

Enjoy high altitude & high desert trips by staying hydrated

Trust an Exum mountain guide to describe a day where the air looks good enough to gulp. Author and guide Jack Turner has a myriad of words to describe high altitude peak and meadow air: sharp, raw, crisp, and, yes, thinner. Most of us living here are used to the altitude, but there are some things you can recommend to friends and family while they are here to ski this March. Likewise, if you’re lucky enough to travel to Peru or Zermatt this spring, simple pre-cautions can prevent a lot of altitude-related illnesses. Ketchum, like Denver or Flagstaff, Arizona, is actually moderate altitude, (greater than 5,280 feet),and high altitude is defined as elevations above 8, 500 feet ( Baldy, Colorado ski resorts, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Matterhorn, and of course, the highest summit, Mt. Everest at 29,028 feet.)
Nobody wants to start out their ski vacation with a splitting head-ache, and Dr. Keith Sivertson, Blaine County Emergency Medical Service Medical Director, has some good advice for visitors upon arriving here. Firstly, because we’re not sleeping above 8,000 feet, we are not technically high altitude; Ketchum is high desert. But altitude as low as 3000 feet can impose physiologic limitations on the body, and even mild dehydration can compromise performance during exercise. Add to that increased sweating and quick evaporation of that cold dry air, and you’ve lost up to 1-2 liters a day. Most people, especially those over 60, are sippers, and are not drinking enough to replace their sweat losses, furthering their risk of dehydration. A simple way to tell you are dehydrated, Dr. Severson says, is that you’re not having to get up in the night to pee (and that your pee isn’t clear in the morning).The American College of Sports Medicine suggests drinking two glasses of water two hours before exercise, and to drink during exercise at a rate that matches your sweat losses. In other words, as Dr. Silvertson says, much of the symptoms ski patrollers see at Seattle Ridge, like nausea, headaches, weakness and a heavy feeling are signs of dehydration, not high altitude sickness.
Getting off the mountain is important if there are any indications of any feeling of fullness in the chest, or a shortness of breath, as these can be serious health matters. Mike Lloyd, Baldy Mountain’s ski patrol director, has his staff trained to take no chances that it could be something of a more serious nature.
Evangelista Torricelli, in the 1600’s, was the first person to realize that the atmosphere above us create pressures that could support weight. At higher elevations, there’s less pressure of oxygen moving from the air into our blood, resulting in less oxygen to help our muscles & heart function. Many people experience high-altitude illnesses when they rapidly ascend to elevations above 8,000 feet. The most common of these is acute mountain sickness. Being in shape,( a good idea no matter what), or age seems to have no bearing on if you will develop symptoms either. More life –threatening are high-altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema. Descending to lower altitudes and medical care are a must for these three illnesses.
While you may not know your susceptibility at high-altitude, there are some things to do for your next trip or a longer trek. Try to go a few days earlier, or if you can’t, try to pre-acclimatize by planning several week-end hiking trips to a similar target altitude in the month prior to departure, to judge whether you are susceptible to mountain sickness. While at attitude, stay hydrated, and consume enough calories. If you are skiing, trekking or climbing at altitude, you can be using up to 300-500 calories extra calories a day The energy used to support body functions, basal metabolic rate, burns up 200 of these calories, so it’s important to eat enough calories. Savor it all.