Friday, July 11, 2008

Health and Fitness Tips

Each month I'll provide you with health and fitness tips courtesy of one of my best friends, Allison Dougherty. Allison is a personal trainer in St. Louis, Missouri.

Water! How important is it really? How much do we need to function well?

As a baseline, the traditionally recommended 8 glasses a day is a good place to start. But what if you drink a little (or a lot) of caffeine? What if you workout inside? Sweat a lot while working outside on a hot day? Feeling under the weather?

All of these activities will require the consumption of more than the standard 8 glasses. Try to have an extra glass of water for every caffeinated drink you take in. So if two cups of coffee is your usual morning routine you should be aiming for 10 glasses of water a day. Continuously sip water throughout a workout or while doing any form of outdoor activity, especially in the hot summer months. Try to drink at minimum an extra glass of water for every hour of work performed- a glass every half-hour if the work is especially intense. If you are sick, you may be already dehydrated, so try to make your water intake equal 10 glasses a day in addition to whatever other fluids you are probably taking in (orange juice, hot tea, etc.)

Make a pledge to yourself to carry water with you wherever you go: to the office, the gym, when running errands, etc. If water is easily accessible you are much more likely to drink more of it! Try using a stainless steel or Sigg bottle. Check out and/or Find one you like and go for it! Commit to only using it for water and nothing else. Soon it should become second nature.

Keys? Wallet? Water bottle?

It may seem like a large water increase at first, but the truth is your body will appreciate this change so much! Many of us walk around chronically dehydrated. Our bodies struggle to function with the little water we give them. When even slightly dehydrated brain function can slow, nerve transmissions happen less smoothly, joints may feel stiffer, we tire more easily- all body systems function less efficiently. Our bodies are 70% water. Proper water intake is one of the cheapest, most effective “medicines” we have available to us. You owe it to your body.

Remember: give to your body what it needs and it will give back to you!

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