In our previous human performance tip article, we covered the health benefits of coffee and how that ties into human performance and longevity. In this segment, we’re going to discuss the importance and benefits of hydration. Yes coffee has water in it and technically hydrates your body, but that in no way replaces water, especially in the morning.
I’m going to refer back to my military training again, but in Marine Corps Bootcamp they would always have us down a canteen of water before and after each meal. Felt like torture at the time and made us feel like we were gonna puke, but in hindsight, it had its benefits. If you ever didn’t feel well and went to sick call (military version of your family doctor) they 99% of the time would tell you to take two Motrin and drink water.
They really drilled into us the importance of hydration whether that was drinking water during a meal or drinking water because of a common cold or sickness.
Benefits of hydration
I think most of us can agree that hydration and drinking water on a regular basis is beneficial to our bodies. The human body is made up of 60% water on average. The Institute of Medicine recommends 11 cups per day for women and 15 cups per day for men. Regardless, you can see that the body NEEDS water to survive. Staying hydrated with water, whether that is tap water from the sink or bottled water, will benefit your overall health, energy level and body composition.
We previously published an article discussing how much water you REALLY need based on physical output. Here is an excerpt, but I encourage you to go read the article in it’s entirety.
I believe that during normal environmental conditions, 12-24 oz. of water per hour is sufficient. Genetics will play a part in determining which side of the scale you are on. This should be sufficient water to do anything from running to humping a ruck as long as heat is relatively moderate (75-80 max) and there is some sort of prior physical conditioning present in the person doing the task.
In extreme cases, where environmental conditions are harsh (90 and above, or lack of food, extreme terrain) I think a good intake is up to 2 quarts per hour. Anything over that and the individual’s effectiveness is coming into play.
Pre-hydrate when the opportunity arises. If you know you’re going on a long run, don’t carry the water with you if you can simply drink a bottle before you go. Every ounce you take away in running equals about 2-3 seconds per mile faster.
In the end, each individual is different and will require a certain amount of fluid to keep going. Knowing your body well enough to carry only what you need will result in a better overall performance.
An easy to follow hydration regimen
I’ve read and heard about several different ways to stay hydrated and how much daily intake to consume. Most of it is good, but not all were my cup of tea. I’ll share with you what works for me and let you make your decisions based on your personal preferences.
In the morning when I wake up, before my first cup of coffee, I drink 16 ounces of water. I have a 16-ounce water bottle that I use, but as long as you drink a standard size cup of water you’re good to go. Don’t get all wrapped around having the exact amount. At each meal, I will consume 16 ounces of water and then before bed an additional 16 ounces. Again, I’m using my 16-ounce water bottle for the convenience. With that said my daily minimum goal is five 16-ounce servings of water. More if my daily activity/workout demands it.
Next up in our human performance series is sleep.
*Photo courtesy of the Camelbak Facebook page
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