Dehydration: Enemy No. 1 for athletes
Every cell, tissue, and organ in the human body needs hydration to work properly. Ideal hydration is fundamental for athletes. As a long-time coach and player, I've seen great athletes fail – not because of talent, but because they didn't take their hydration seriously. This week's topics will help us grasp the benefits of hydration and the perils of dehydration.
DEHYDRATION RED FLAGS
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT WATER
I learned the crucial hydration lesson early in my sports career in southern Florida. Suffice it to say, if you are an athlete in a hot climate and don't take hydration seriously, you will have big trouble. And I did. I crashed and burned more than once on the court with extreme muscle cramps. Unfortunately, I had to learn my treatment for dehydration lesson the hard way – in the school of hard knocks.
Luckily for me, one of my tennis buddies (a physician) taught me that I didn't have to crash and burn like that. I remember the epiphany like it was yesterday. After one particularly grueling match, I was in bad shape. I believed I was experiencing total body muscle cramps (dehydration), but my doctor friend explained that I did not have "total" body cramps while I was not looking well. The symptoms of dehydration in adults are loud and clear messages and we need to pay close attention.
He looked at me with that grave doctor's face and said something that left a permanent impression on me. He said, "You know your heart is a muscle, too?" He recommended that if I intended to compete like I was doing, I had better pay closer attention to proper quality hydration. Light bulb moment!
I am so grateful for this advice. From that day on, I became a vigilant and conscientious hydrating athlete.
Coach's sidebar: Effective hydration for athletes does not mean drinking gallons of water and overdoing it. In fact, this can create another serious issue called hyponatremia. This is far less common than dehydration, yet it is very serious. Hyponatremia is a decrease in serum sodium concentration caused by an excess of water relative to solute. Known issues are diarrhea, heart failure, liver disease, renal disease, and the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH).
DEHYDRATION RED FLAGS
The average human body is around 60% water. This amount of water in the body changes with age, sex, and hydration levels and can vary from 45-75%. Vital organs in the human body with the highest percentages of water are: the brain (80-85%), kidneys (80-85%), heart (75-80%), lungs (75-80%), liver (70-75%), muscles (70-75%), and skin (70-75%). And our blood is 90%. Dehydration can cause many serious bodily issues.
Fatty tissue contains less water than muscle, so these percentages can vary with body types. Typically, a female body contains a lower percentage of water because females, on average, have a higher percentage of body fat. Today with our country's rising obesity rates, more people are likely to have a lower percentage of water in their bodies because of their higher fat levels.
What causes dehydration and what does water do in the body? Plenty. Water plays an essential role in many bodily functions. It carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. Water lessens the kidneys and liver burden by flushing toxins from the body. Water helps normalize blood pressure. It lubricates and cushions joints. It moistens tissues in the eyes, nose, and mouth. Water protects the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues. Water regulates body temperature. It boosts skin health and appearance. Water may also help with weight loss.
Every day, you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements, so it's essential to continue to take in water throughout the day. As you age, your body's fluid reserve becomes smaller, your ability to conserve water is reduced, and your thirst sense becomes less acute.
Maintaining adequate water balance in our bodies means we need to drink even more water during and after exercising, especially in hot weather.
When we don't hydrate, bad things happen. So what are the signs of dehydration?
In response to core body temperature rising during exercise, the body sweats to dissipate excess heat, so it doesn't overheat. If the body overheats, blood is rerouted to the skin and can put other organs under strain. Less blood for your heart means it works harder to maintain its regular output—which is compounded by the fact that higher temperatures stimulate your heart to beat faster.
If overheated due to lack of hydration, the body will run out of energy, slowing you down and leading your muscles to recover less quickly. Symptoms may include extreme thirst, urinating less than usual, headaches, sluggishness, fatigue, and feeling dizzy. Some studies show dehydration can even make pain signals more intense.
Temperature control is essential because many processes in the body only work well within a specific range of temperatures. If your body cannot get rid of the extra heat, the core temperature will rise. Your body temperature may rise to 101 F or higher in heat exhaustion. Your heart may not be able to pump enough blood. Untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition that occurs when your core body temperature reaches 104 F or higher. Heatstroke and dehydration requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage to your brain and other vital organs that can result in death.
If there was only one message that I could instill in everyone with an active lifestyle, it would be to take hydration seriously!
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT WATER
Let's talk about healthy hydration. Staying hydrated is about more than just drinking water. In addition to clean, filtered water, the athlete needs additional support. Athletes require hydration coupled with an energy source, electrolyte replenishment, and fuel for endurance. Dehydration is a failure to care for you body.
Body Helix's Hydro Helix is the perfect choice for anyone with an active lifestyle. It is specially designed with the athlete in mind. As its energy source, Hydro Helix uses Complex Carbohydrates. Next, we pack our drinks with Electrolytes. Hydro Helix brings ultimate endurance, performance, and protection to your body.
Why complex carbs for energy? Carbohydrates are macronutrients that provide the body with energy; however, not all carbs are created equal. Hydro Helix contains a patented pea super-starch (not corn). This complex carbohydrate provides the body with quick energy that lasts more effectively than simple carbs. Other drinks often use sugar in its many and varied forms for power.
Sugar provides only short-burst energy with spikes and crashes – not conducive for sustained energy levels. And sugar is one of the leading causes of inflammation throughout the body. We don't think any athlete needs to be drinking liquid inflammation! Don't just take my word for it. The charts above clearly show how complex carbs compare to sugar and how the body's insulin and blood glucose levels vary. Notice the stability of the complex super starch.
Coach's sidebar: Simple-Carbs support simple minds. Complex-Carbs support complex minds. Which would you prefer?
Which electrolytes do I need? Specific electrolytes are essential for good reason. We lose vital minerals responsible for muscle function, blood pressure stability, nerve signaling, and heartbeat regulation as we perspire. An electrolyte imbalance can trigger a domino effect of negative responses from muscle cramps to death! Hydro Helix blends Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium. Combined with the sustained energy release from our patented pea super-starch, this customized electrolyte pack allows you to power through, keeping your electrolyte stores in check.
Endurance or stamina refers to the body's physical capability to sustain activity for an extended period. Endurance is vital for building strength and reducing the risk of injury. We need endurance to perform repetitive daily living activities, primarily to participate in sports. Cardiovascular and muscle endurance together constitute fitness. Hydro Helix combines an all-natural synergistic formula with sustained energy fuel and the essential electrolytes for optimal long-lasting performance.
Coach's sidebar: Once you become dehydrated, you should allow at least 36 hours for your body to become fully rehydrated again. Drinking water with electrolytes can help restore your system.
Hydro Helix is refreshing. It mixes easily in water. You may need to re-shake between sips. That's because the complex-carb is a powder that settles. Settling is a natural process. Hydro Helix is free of colorful dyes, so we don't need emulsifiers – agents that stabilize those fake colors in the other drinks.
Why is this important? Drink companies often add BVO (brominated vegetable oil) or SAIB (sucrose acetate isobutyrate) to their products to keep ingredients (and dyes) suspended. These are detrimental as they accumulate in the body over time. SAIBs are weighting agents used in cosmetic colorings and fragrance fixatives.
Hydro Helix has no syrupy taste. The subtle saltiness is a welcome reminder of its healthy ingredients. In fact, our complex carb has no taste. It takes on whatever flavor we use. We're putting the finishing touches on some exciting new flavors like Kiwi and Mint. We'll also be introducing a formulation containing caffeine from green tea. Body Helix is working diligently to provide you with the finest endurance fuels in the world. You deserve it.
Body Helix helps you achieve higher personal fitness levels with our Hydro Helix drink mix. Frankly, bringing this product to a market saturated with drinks from the largest power-house companies in the world is a bold move. We are excited to instigate a bold movement against those ubiquitous so-called sports drinks. Most sports drinks contain sugar – whether it's 'natural' or some hard-to-pronounce synthetic sugar (read your labels carefully). Body Helix is pushing back against the most addictive and harmful drug on our planet – sugar! A major source of dehydration.
We crafted Hydro Helix with a better energy source and a restorative electrolyte formula for optimal endurance. For those eager to improve healthspan, expand performance, and migrate away from sugar consumption, we are here for you. Whether you're climbing a mountain, competing on the court, or enjoying an active lifestyle, Hydro Helix will help you Move Through It. Stay hydrated!
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Be well, my friends.