At its basic level, hydration is simple. Feel thirsty after a run? Drink something! Heading into an epic meeting? Bring along a water bottle! Despite this simplicity, there's an ocean of misleading information out there that leaves people confused. Quoted from Runnersworld, these are some myths to uncover the facts and make the truth about hydration.
1. Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day
You do need a healthy dose of hydration daily, but how much is an individual thing. "The eight glasses a day is totally arbitrary," says Susan Yeargin, Ph.D., assistant professor of athletic training at the University of South Carolina. "Everybody, especially athletes, has different needs." The Institute of Medicine guidelines are more specific, recommending 91 ounces per day for women and 120 for men. But the institute notes that the vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide.
2. Pee Clear to be Hydrated
Clear urine is a bit excessive. "As long as it is a pale yellow, like lemonade, you're hydrated," says Yeargin. If it's completely clear, it just means you're full to the brim. On the other hand, if your pee is the color of apple juice or darker, or particularly smelly, you need to drink up.
3. Caffeine Dehydrates You
Recent research shows that caffeine doses between 250 and 300 mg or about two cups of coffee, will minimally increase urine output for about three hours after consuming it. But the research also shows that exercise seems to negate those effects.
Most likely, during exercise, blood flow shifts toward your muscles and away from your kidneys, so urine output isn't affected. In addition, if you always have a latte in the morning or a soda at lunch, your body is acclimated to the caffeine, so its effect, on both your physiology and performance, is minimal.
4. Pure Water is Best for Hydration
Although water is a great way to hydrate, it may not be the best choice in all situations. For an easy, hour-long run on a coolish day, sipping water is fine. But if you're running 10 miles on a warmish morning, you need to ingest some sodium as well. "Salt helps you retain water," says Yeargin. A sports drink, such as Gatorade, and water enhanced with electrolytes, like Nuun, are good options.
5. Drinking Lots of Water is a Good Way to Detox
"There is no evidence that excess water makes your body more clean," says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, M.D., a professor of medicine in the Renal, Electrolyte, and Hypertension Division at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. "If anything, drinking too much water can slightly impair the ability of the kidneys to filter blood." He adds that the only people who should drink more water with a focus on their kidneys are those who have had kidney stones.
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