It's pretty simple when discussing why hydration and heart health go hand-in-hand. Here's the basic concept: Your heart can pump easier when your body is kept hydrated. Your muscles work more efficiently because oxygen is readily allowed to reach them. Your heart is one big muscle.
Good cardiac health is, of course, not the only health benefit from staying hydrated. But it is what we will concentrate on here. Overall, you should keep your body hydrated at all times, no matter the weather, no matter your activity or no activity at all.
How's the Weather out There?
It's even more important to get enough to drink when the temperature rises outside. Whether you're sitting in the sun, traveling, playing sports, or whatever, it is essential to drink enough water. Your heart health depends on being adequately hydrated because it helps blood vessels get oxygenated blood to the muscles. This occurs because the heart pumps blood through the vessels at an easier pace with good hydration. For efficiently working muscles – which is what the heart is – you must be hydrated.
But what about those who become dehydrated? This condition can actually lead to health issues and is considered a serious problem. Heatstroke, headaches, swollen feet, and life-threatening illnesses can result from dehydration.
How Much Is Enough?
Okay, you know that you need to be hydrated and drink water. But how much water does that mean? Factors that can determine how much water your body needs include exercise duration and intensity, clothing worn, climate conditions, and more. Someone who is not perspiring won't need to drink as much water as someone who is perspiring heavily. Additionally, you may need to drink more water if you have certain medical conditions – heart disease and diabetes being two of them. Some medications can cause the body to lose fluid because they act as diuretics.
Best advice: You're probably already dehydrated if you get thirsty. So, when you're thirsty… drink water! Another good indicator of not having enough water in your system is your urine's color. You probably need to drink more fluids if it's dark. You’re well hydrated if it appears clear and pale.
One guide to know how much water you need – particularly if you like to work out – is both following and prior to your exercise routine, weigh yourself. When you perspire, you lose weight. During the hot summer months, when athletes are in training, this is a good way to find out how much water their body has lost through exercise and perspiration. You will need to drink a pint of water for every pound you lose.
One of the most important things to remember about hydration, in addition to getting enough of it, is that WATER is the best thing to drink. Soda, sugary drinks, fruit juices – are still not as good as water. Coffee should be avoided, as should alcohol, when going for hydration.
Following your water intake after exercising, a snack of unsalted nuts, bananas, and/or orange slices is a healthy choice.
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