A few years ago, I committed to drinking more water. I had done some reading, and realized just how important it was to drink our "8 cups per day." I have these big red plastic cups that are perfectly 16 oz. So I drink 4 of those per day: 2 in the morning, 1 at lunch and 1 before dinner. On days I run, I add 1-2 more cups.
[I say "8 cups per day" loosely, as it depends on the person. A good rule of thumb is your body weight, divided in half, in ounces.]
After committing to this Water Challenge, I saw some great effects. First, I stopped getting random headaches. Not completely, but at the time I began the challenge, I was getting them rather frequently. I believe many of my headaches were due to dehydration. Now when I get the beginnings of a headache, I try drinking a large cup of water first to see if it staves off pain (often it does).
Second, I noticed that my dry skin wasn't quite as dry. I've got about the driest skin you've ever seen. And while I still need to lotion up daily, the effects were not as severe as before I started drinking more water.
Third, my hunger was rightly in check. I'd often heard that it's easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Seriously. Next time you are randomly hungry, try drinking a big glass of water then waiting 15 minutes. You might be surprised that your "hunger" is sated. Now that I hydrate more frequently, I can rule out thirst when I get hungry.
But there are times when water doesn't cut it.
This is especially true when it comes to runners (or any person participating in a fitness regime). Yes, runners need to drink water. A lot of water. But when your body is so starved for water, such as after a long run or intense work out, it needs help utilizing the water it is getting.
This is where electrolytes come in.
Electrolytes, in simple terms, are minerals in our bodies that carry an electric charge (I know. Shocking, right? Pun intended). Electrolytes help our bodies more efficiently use and absorb water. We lose these electrolyte minerals when we sweat. If we do not replenish them they can affect our hydration, muscle function, and even the acidity of our blood. I've been told to begin refueling electrolytes after 40 minutes of intense activity. So I aim to drink electrolytes after 4+ mile runs. In the summer, maybe even after 20 or 30 if I am really sweating.
There are many ways to refuel our electrolytes. Unfortunately, most sports drinks that are pushed upon us are made up of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors (no bueno, people). I was recently introduced to Power Ice, and I was very, very impressed.
First, they are popsicles. Except amazeballs popsicles that replenish your electrolytes. Each popsicle has only 30 calories, and contains 17 g of potassium as well as 25mg of sodium. This is a great way to begin the electrolyte replenishment process. I also think it's a great big treat when Summer hits and the runs are now being done in 90+ degree heat. Who wouldn't want an electrolyte pop?!
As a mom, I also appreciate that these are something I can keep on hand for my kids. With no caffeine, naturally-derived sugars and low in calories, these are a great option to have on hand in the freezer for times of sickness. When the kids are dehydrated from a tummy bug or times of terrible congestion, I'm more realistically able to get them to eat a fun popsicle than, say, chicken soup.
I am sold and want to keep these on hand to pop open after my long runs. If you want to learn more about Power Ice, check out their website. You can also order Power Ice online or see if there is store near you.
How do YOU hydrate?