NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Focus on Fluids: Summer Hydration Made Easy

ThinkstockPhotos-586741530.jpgFluid (mainly water) is needed by all body cells for function. Water helps to regulate body temperature, carry important nutrients and oxygen to cells, remove waste, lubricate all joints, and protect organs and tissues. Our bodies are composed of approximately 67 percent water. As summer approaches and the temperatures increase outside, it is important to make sure you are taking in enough water.

How Much Fluid Do You Need?

So how much do you really need to be drinking each day?

  • Drink at least 8–12 cups of fluid each day (1 cup = 8 ounces).
  • Drink 2–3 cups (16–24 oz) of fluid about 2–3 hours before exercising.
  • Drink 1 cup (8 oz) of fluid 10–20 minutes before a workout.
  • Drink 1 cup (8 oz) of fluid every 10–20 minutes during exercise.
  • Drink 2–3 cups (16–24 oz) for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.

Infuse Your Water with Flavor

I often hear that water is boring or that many don’t like it, so that is the reason individuals are reaching for soda, juice drinks, or other high-calorie beverages. However, the best option for hydration and decreasing unnecessary sugar intake is still to consume water.

  • Here are a few combinations that you can add to a cup of water or sparkling water for a fun, flavor-filled drink that is not so boring!
  • Watermelon and jalapeño
  • Lime and basil
  • Apples and cinnamon sticks
  • Strawberries and basil
  • Raspberries and pineapple
  • Blueberries, lemon, and mint
  • Peach and mint
  • Cucumber, melon, and mint

Monitor Your Hydration

On a final note, a simple way to monitor your hydration status on a daily basis is to monitor the color and frequency of urination. Continue drinking fluids until you are urinating approximately every 2–3 hours. When your urine is a pale color, you can be confident that you are adequately hydrated. If you are urinating more frequently and/or your urine is clear, you are drinking too much. If you are urinating less frequently and/or your urine is dark in color, you are probably dehydrated and really need to increase your intake of water.

So drink up!

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

This blog was written by Angie Mitchell, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: summer hydration water

10 Healthy Habits of Fit People

Let’s get real: getting healthy and fit (and staying that way) doesn’t happen by accident. In my seven years in the fitness industry I have seen quite a bit—enough to know what works and what doesn’t. The people who are able to reach their healthy, happy weight and maintain it end up developing very similar habits to one another. These healthy habits aren’t anything crazy or extreme, but they consistently allow individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle for years and years.

Today I’ve compiled these habits of healthy people so we can all adapt our own habits to be our healthiest selves.

ThinkstockPhotos-4713112341. Start off with a breakfast to FUEL your day.

Remember learning that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? While I believe that all meals are important, breakfast definitely is a meal you shouldn’t consider skipping. Studies show that eating breakfast helps to improve focus, satiety, and energy levels throughout the day. 

So what does that mean for you? You’ll be more productive at work, will work harder during your workouts, and you may have reduced cravings and hunger later in the day. Sounds like a win, win, win to me! 

2. Drink lots of water.

The body is made up of 60% water! Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help maintain your body’s fluid balance so that nutrients can be transported throughout the body. That means you will more quickly reap the benefits of the healthy foods you eat!  

Drinking water throughout the day helps you feel full. It may sound crazy, but many people mistake thirst for hunger and end up overeating. 

It’s also important to drink water because when you stress and work your muscles in the gym, they are losing water. If you aren’t drinking enough water, your muscles will get tired faster and you may not be able to work as hard. So drink up, buttercup!

3. Set a deadline.

People are more efficient and more likely to reach their goals with a deadline in the picture. Having a deadline helps to eliminate procrastination and makes the goal seem more tangible and realistic. Having a deadline doesn’t mean you can start being “unhealthy” after you reach your goal, but it simply allows you to have a checkpoint to work toward. Once you reach your goal and deadline, reevaluate and set a new goal! It’s all about progress, not perfection, and there is always something we can improve on when it comes to health and fitness.

4. Don’t leave your healthy-eating goals to chance. 

I rarely say NEVER or ALWAYS, but this is an exception to that rule. Never assume that there will be a healthy option when you eat away from home. Always be prepared. Check out the restaurant menu ahead of time, pack healthy snacks, bring a lunch, bring a healthy dish to share, or eat something small before so you aren’t starving. You are in control of your health. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure there is something nutritious for you to nosh on.

5. Remain consistent.

Consistency is key. We all have days where we skip a workout or overindulge, but as long as healthy is your default, there is no need to sweat it! What matters most is what you do most of the time, not what you do sometimes. So, if choosing healthy (moving your body, eating whole foods, and drinking lots of water) is your sometimes, you may want to switch your mindset.

6. Eat whole, real foods.

Make it your goal to have most of your nourishment come from unprocessed, real foods that are as close to the source as possible. What does that mean? Check out the ingredients. If you are eating a handful of almonds for a snack, the only ingredient should be just that: almonds! Whole foods fill your body with more vitamins and minerals, the nutrition we need to stay healthy on the inside.

7. Fill your home with healthy, nourishing foods.

This tip piggybacks onto the previous piece of advice. If you fill your home with whole foods, they suddenly become a more convenient option than the processed stuff, and less healthy options are eliminated from the picture. If you surround yourself with healthy, delicious food choices, you are more likely to pick those foods when preparing a meal or eating a snack.

8. Take your workout with you.

 Many people travel frequently for work, to visit family, or for vacation. While traveling can make it less easy to fit in your workout, it’s definitely not an excuse to slack off in the fitness department. Talk with your trainer about a travel workout option, pack a resistance band or TRX strap, or pack a workout DVD that doesn’t require any equipment at all! There are endless resources for fitness on the go; it just takes a little planning ahead of time.

9. Learn to be politely picky when eating out.

I have learned that I can find something healthy to eat at almost any restaurant. Many times, the option I choose is not listed on the menu. It can be intimidating to ask for special options at a restaurant, but you will be surprised at how accommodating your server and the restaurant want to be. Be polite when you make requests, and your tummy will be happy with the healthy and delicious outcome!

10. Dedicate time to mental health.

Whether you practice yoga, write a journal, meditate, see a therapist, or have another way of dedicating time to your mental health, it is just as important to make time for this type of exercise as it is to make time to go to the gym. Having a healthy mental state will help you stay on track with your fitness goals and will allow you to balance your busy and crazy life with ease. Find the method that works best for you and stick to it!

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition healthy habits goal setting snacks breakfast mental weight management water

Water: The Free, Delicious Drink You’re Not Getting Enough Of

waterWater is everywhere but where you need it: inside your body. Do you ever check to see how much water you actually consume a day? How much do you need? The old adage “8 times 8 ounces a day” (or 64 total ounces) is off. Just like everything we know about different body types and metabolism, the amount of water each of us needs will vary. It makes sense that in hot, humid conditions you will sweat more, thus needing more hydration. But do you realize that your hydration levels will dry up in the dry, cold weather of winter, too?

To get a good idea of how much water you need, take your body weight and try to consume that many ounces of water a day. Yes you can count the coffee and tea you drink, but remember that the caffeine will cause you to lose more water. You may be saying, “YIKES, that’s a lot!” But look at the questions below. If you answer yes to one or more, you need to be paying more attention to the amount you take in.

1. Do you talk a lot during your day?

That takes hydration. Since your brain is about 75 percent water, you need adequate water to fully function.

2. Are you stuck in a weight-loss plateau or have found you cannot budge the scales?

Try drinking more water to get your body functioning smoothly, breaking down fat for energy after your tough interval workout, and helping to rebuild the muscles you broke down. This beats your dehydrated body slowing your metabolism and making weight-loss more frustrating than ever.

3. Do you get hungry soon after eating?

It could be hydration issues (it could also be a gluten crash, but we’ll leave that for another day). As you eat protein-rich foods, your body needs more water to break down the protein, so be sure to add more water as you add more protein to your diet.

4. Do you get headaches after a long, stressful, busy day?

Try drinking water to help alleviate your pain. This may be your body telling you that you are dehydrated. See this article about a study that shows how your brain is much more efficient when you drink enough water.

***

As you increase your water consumption, of course, you will need to make numerous trips to the restroom, but your body will realize you are doing a good deed for it and adapt. That is more proof of what marvelous machines our bodies are.

You can see what water can do for you to enhance your body’s efficiency and smooth running. If you are looking to slim down, improve both brain and body performance, and help ward off disease and bugs, add more water to your day.

This blog was written by Kris Simpson, NIFS Small Group and Personal Trainer. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

 

Topics: nutrition weight loss hydration water