Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cool Clear Water: Hydration

As I walk using a brisk pace while looking for coins but still maintaining a target heart rate of 120 bpm, I practice good citizenship by picking up and disposing glass and plastic bottles. This morning I removed a bottle of “Penta.” Its label called it an ultra-purified energized water with these benefits: anti-aging, superior hydration, and a sense of well-being. Golly, what a beverage! Another bottle contained Aloe Vera Grape Drink called Aloevine; a “ready to drink beverage to make your body stronger,” so said the label. Artificial grape citric acid was the fifth listed ingredient after aloe powder, vera gel, fructose sugar, and water in that order.

The bottles raise the question, what should MoneyWalkers drink before, during, or after a brisk one hour walk? Replenishing the body’s lost fluid is called hydration and prevents the dangerous dehydration. symptoms are as follows:

Feeling dizzy and lightheaded
Having a dry or sticky mouth
Producing less urine and darker urine

While dehydration is an important consideration for lengthy sustained work bouts, the MoneyWalker is not overly concerned about dehydration that might occur from a one hour walk, even during the hot months of the year. It is true that water helps regulate the body’s temperature and reduces the risk for dehydration, but are special hydration precautions necessary for a one hour walk? The issue is debatable. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend that a heavy exerciser should drink 20-40 ounces per hour of a non-carbonated beverage, about ½ cup for every 15 minutes of exercise. Yet, for a conditioned MoneyWalker, a one-hour walk, even a brisk one, is not that strenuous. I never "prehydrate" or carry a bulky water bottle. When I finish my early morning walk, I replenish with a good cup of fresh ground decaffeinated coffee and a glass of orange juice, and water if I feel thirsty. Forget about the myth that coffee causes dehydration. Not so says Ann Grandjean, EdD in a study published in the October 2000 Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Grandjean and her colleagues at the Center for Human Nutrition showed that it's pure fantasy. But what about those power drinks such as Aloevine. They will assist with hydration, but no more than regular cool clear water, and who needs the added sugar in drinks like Aloevine or the cost of Penta. (read more about water and hydration from Webmd:

Ooops, I gotta go. Sandra is here with a huge bottle of Gatorade reminding me that I promised to mow the grass before the big Mardi Gras party.

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