By Kathleen R. Schock
How can you tell if you and your kids are safely hydrated?
Kinesiology faculty members Drs. J. Luke and Riana Pryor are working to educate the community about how to stay safe while exercising. FresnoState Magazine caught up with the husband and wife to dispel some myths about exercise and water consumption.
What is the biggest mistake the average person makes regarding hydration while exercising?
Dr. J. Luke Pryor: If I could sum it up in a few words it would be that they underestimate either the conditions or themselves. They might underestimate their hydration status, their preparation, the availability of fluids or even their own fitness.
How do you know if you’re dehydrated?
Dr. Riana Pryor: The easiest way is to look at the color of your urine. If it’s dark like apple juice, you’re dehydrated, but if it’s light like lemonade, you’re drinking enough water. That’s the first step. If you’re thirsty that means you’re already dehydrated. So you want to drink to your thirst where you replenish everything you’ve lost and are not thirsty anymore. There are certain people out there who think that if it’s really hot you have to drink and drink and drink, at which point you can have the opposite problem where you’re hyper-hydrated and can have a very traumatic, dangerous experience that could land you in the hospital.
While you are exercising, how can you tell if you’re not getting enough water?
Luke: Finding out how much each person needs to drink is very complex. It depends on your stress, environment, type of exercise, how long you’ve been awake, how thirsty you are, how hungry you are. Everyone is different. A lot of our research has shown that we can’t make a general recommendation. Like the recommended eight glasses of water a day. As it turns out, there was no scientific support for that.
Riana: Also, some people are extremely salty sweaters. If when you’re done exercising you see white on your skin or clothes, that’s salt that your body lost while sweating. So if you see that after you exercise, you’ll want to replenish with some sort of salty snack or an electrolyte beverage.
Speaking of which, what do you think about sports drinks?
Luke: If you’re exercising for less than an hour you really don’t see any performance benefits whether you drink water or an energy drink, from a hydration and an electrolyte standpoint.
As the weather cools down, what advice do you have for people in regard to hydration?
Luke: When people exercise they often don’t feel thirsty, but you are still dehydrating, and you still need to replace the fluids that you’re losing. Also, start hydrated!
What is your advice for people who don’t like water?
Riana: I personally don’t enjoy the taste of water. So for me it’s always a struggle to drink enough water. So even just having a water bottle close to me, I’m more likely to drink. Fruit is also an excellent source of hydration. A lot of fruits are 90 percent or more water. But while fruit isn’t a solid replacement, it can aid in hydration for people who don’t like to drink water.