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How to Get Better Exercise Results By Improving Hydration

Water and Exercise

Your body excretes water in a number of ways: through urination, defecation, breathing (that's why we always enjoyed breathing condensation on mirrors when we were kids) and perspiration. And when you are exercising, your body can lose a large amount of water. It's important to keep replenishing that. The water loss is even more pronounced in warm weather, or during heavy exertion. In such cases, you must make provision to take care of the water. 2 or 3 glasses of water for every hour (or part of an hour) of exercise is not too much. This is an area where you must take precautions, especially if you are older, or not used to vigorous exercise. If the weather is exceptionally hot, try to exercise during the early morning, or later afternoon, when the temperatures will be cooler, and when the sun will be less intense. But the main thing you must do is make sure you are taking in an adequate amount of water, and take steps to keep from having too much water go out. Remember, you will be losing a lot of fluid not only through perspiration, but also through hard breathing while exercising.

Having water with you is an easy habit to get into. A friend who lives in Arizona says he can always tell the natives in a crowd at a museum or sports event. The natives -- knowing how easy it is for the body to lose water in the heat and dry air -- are the ones with water bottles.

You don't have to live in Arizona to use water bottles, though. They are a good habit to get into almost anywhere you go, and you should make use of them to keep water close at hand. When we go on a trip with our children, everyone has a water bottle. Not only does it keep them (and us!) adequately hydrated, it lessens the desire for soft drinks.

And don't get fooled into thinking that you have to buy a water bottle every time you want to use one. We re-use our water bottles, washing them after every use, re-filling them with tap water, and putting them in a special place in the refrigerator. That way, the bottle is ready for use next time we need it.

But road trips aren't the only time water bottles are a good idea. Carry one along when you're hiking, playing sports, biking (any biking shop will have excellent carriers for your bike) or just on your daily commute.

Internal water is not the only thing to remember when exercising. If you aren't used to exercising, or if you are getting older, or if you have some health compromises, consider using water to be the area where you exercise -- in a pool! Not only is the water easier on joints and muscles, it's also the perfect spot to work out in very hot weather because while your body will get hot, the water will serve to temper that internal temperature rise.

Jim Huffman, RN specializes in natural and alternative healing therapies. His first book is 'Dare to Be Free: How to Get Control of Your Time, Your Life, and Your Nursing Career,' and is aimed at helping other nurses find satisfying, dynamic careers. His website is and his health blog is at


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