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Are You Hydrating Properly?

Just because it isn’t hot and muggy outside this time of year does not mean you should limit your intake of water and properly hydrate your body. 

I have found that the older I get, the more important it is to ensure I am getting enough hydration. After all, did you know that poor hydration can cause, among other things, headaches, fatigue, dry skin, and urinary tract infections? Not hydrating properly can lead to weakening the body’s immune system thus causing illnesses and premature aging!   Obviously, hydration is important to achieving and maintaining good health.  

So how do we really know when we need to hydrate?  Well, are you thirsty? If your answer is yes, then you may already be dehydrated. What color is your urine? If it is dark yellow then you are probably not properly hydrated. Did you know that weight gain can be attributed to not being properly hydrated? The body mistakes the lack of hydration for hunger, which causes us to consume calories not really needed. Next time you feel hungry, have a glass of water first and see if those hunger pangs fade away.

Now how about hydration when you exercise? We drink water during exercise to prevent dehydration from occurring, because even minimal dehydration can cause a strain on your cardiovascular system and limit the body’s ability to sweat. Water and essential nutrients like potassium, sodium and the like are needed to keep your body functioning during exercise, excessive loss of these nutrients can cause a plethora of problems, so drink up. I always advise clients to drink small amounts every 10-15 minutes to ensure they stay hydrated during exercise.

So maybe you are not a big fan of H2O. There are other foods that can help you stay hydrated throughout the day like: grapefruit, grapes, jell-o, chicken breasts, hamburger (yes, meat), and fruit juices. As much as I love coffee and green tea, I know it is important to limit my intake due to caffeine intake. Even though these two beverages are great in small amounts, and they do contain water, caffeine is a diuretic and removes vital nutrients from the body when we excrete, so drink in moderation.

It may be cold outside and warm and dry inside, but your body needs hydration no matter what the temperature.  Drink up and keep your body feeling and looking great!

Tip:  Add sliced citrus like tangerine, orange, lemon or lime, a little fresh mint and sliced cucumber to your water. Not only does this concoction taste great, it is a natural detox drink and fat burner! NATURALLY!

Merlinda Swearingen is a certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor, and personal fitness chef.

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Merlinda Swearingen

Merlinda Swearingen is a Navy wife and mother of two growing boys (12 and 10). She teaches group fitness classes at ODU's student recreation center and is a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, pilates instructor, personal fitness chef, and business owner with over 15 years experience in the fitness industry. She enjoys spending time with her family, church family, cooking, camping, and finding new information and ideas that are trending in the area of fitness and health. Living a healthy and fit lifestyle is a passion she enjoys sharing with anyone and everyone she meets.  

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