With the Crescent City Classic this Saturday, one of the key factors is staying hydrated - it plays a huge role in energy, performance, and preventing or alleviating muscle cramps. So today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on why hydration is so important, how much we need, and what “counts” as fluid, plus the inside scoop on why pickle juice really works to alleviate cramping instantly!
WHY HYDRATION MATTERS
- Regulate body temp; Reduce risk of muscle cramping, heat exhaustion, heat stroke
- Water is essential for bodies to transport nutrients and oxygen
- Optimal brain function: Even low-level dehydration can impact energy, mood, alertness
HOW MUCH FLUID WE NEED
- NOTE: Thirst isn’t reliable indicator; we can easily miss signs that we need to drink up.
- Aim for at least half of body weight in ounces of fluid – plus another 16-24 oz per pound of sweat lost during exercise.
- EXAMPLE: A 160-pound person aim for 80 ounces of fluid daily, plus another 16-24 ounces for every pound of sweat lost during exercise in addition to baseline fluid needs.
WHAT “COUNTS” AS FLUID
- These recommendations are for total fluid intake – not just pure water.
- Any fluid that doesn’t not contain alcohol can “count” toward fluid intake – even coffee and tea.
- Water in food also adds up: Yogurt and cottage cheese are about 80-85% water, while some fruits are as much as 92% water. .
BEST FLUID SOURCES FOR CCC 10-K
For day-to-day hydration & shorter races like CCC 10-K, goal for most is to hydrate without adding a lot of added sugar: Steer clear of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, lemonade, fruit juices, and most sports drinks.
Electrolytes are still essential, even during shorter events, so look for low-sugar sports drink alternatives like nuun hydration electrolyte drink tabs, SOS Hydration Drink Powder and Hydra-Guard Recharge.
Want more from Molly? Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune! And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: @MollyKimballRD