Tag Archives: hydrate

Healthier Together Series: Cycle 2D. Putting it all together — What it looks like now…

Today’s post is an example of putting it all together.

No matter the time of year, we should nourish our bodies. This 2nd cycle included much of the basics of nourishing ourselves. After a brutal winter, I am definitely needing to make sure my body & mind has what it needs to continue to function at its best. Spring is here & I get the feeling of fresh beginnings and new blossoms.

At this time of year, in addition to looking for a new haircut, outfit or makeup, I reassess my nourishing health behaviors and make sure to keep moving forward. In one of my favorite books, Joe X, the author, Avery Hunnicut, notes that we are never just maintaining. We are either moving forward or moving backwards. If you don’t move forward, you will move backwards by default. So, of course, I choose to move forwards every day.

At this time, I make sure I am continuing to stay hydrated ideally with water. During the winter, sometimes I get into habits of drinking other fluids too, so often in the Spring, I switch back to more water. I have a couple of water bottles that I LOVE — they are bright and colorful & girly and cheer me up when I see them, so I take a swig of my water. Sometimes, I will add lime or lemon or some mint leaves to the water – my favorite is a squirt of lime in my ice water.

So, I drink an entire large water bottle of iced lemon/lime water with my workout in the morning on waking. I’m wearing my heart rate monitor while I work out and I am logging my “data.” I keep track of my daily activity with a FitBit.

Although I feel active at work, I notice on the day I don’t do any planned work out, on Monday, I am lucky if I walk 4,000 steps at work! Yikes! I guess I am NOT so active at work. Now that I know, on Monday evenings, I will incorporate an evening walk with one of my boys, my dog or my husband. I also have great music I can listen to if I want to walk alone. My goal: to make sure I bump up that number closer to 10,000 steps!

On my workout days, I definitely hit the 10,000 steps. If I seem to be going way over, then I don’t feel so bad if on Monday (my day off from working out), I log fewer steps.

In addition, I note that my baseline (resting) heart rate is low (which is good when due to regular exercise). I also monitor how long it takes my heart rate to come back to baseline (my recovery time- remember shorter time to recovery means better fitness) & am very pleased it is still improving. I’m also excited because I am able to do so much more with the same effort. I’m continuing to move forward!

Finally, I have to check my sleep. I use the Sleep Cycle app on my iphone. I notice a pattern: 2 nights a week, I get only 5 hours of sleep. The rest of the week, I am getting enough sleep. I feel extra good about this because one of the reasons I continued working out regularly was so that I could function just as well on less sleep (which leaves me an extra hour a day to do what I want). I had learned that when people are fit, their sleep-time needs decrease. I needed to function on less hours of sleep in medical school, so I knew I had to maintain my fitness.

In addition, to make up my 5 hours of sleep debt in the week, I found I can make it up on most Friday nights if I am not on call & don’t have Saturday clinic. Also, I can add 30 minutes over several other days in the week depending on the week- I just have to schedule it. And, I realized that I will need to make a conscious effort to get in bed on time so I get adequate sleep. The boys, my sexy husband, the iphone, emails, internet, books & journals are easy to get lost in…Time flies & next thing I know, I am cutting into my sleep time! Note to self: set a pleasant alarm to remind me to put all that away & get in bed! If I can’t sleep, I will meditate quietly.

Summary of Cycle 2:
1. Assess daily water intake and find ways to increase water intake. Attractive water bottles help.
2. Assess baseline activity level (count your steps every day) & aim to increase it 10% every 2 weeks (NOT TOO FAST) until your average number of steps is at least 10,000 steps or more.
3. Learn your baseline heart rate by checking first thing in the morning & then learn how much time it takes your heart rate to return to that baseline after you have been active or exercising. As you get more fit, the baseline gets lower and your body return to the baseline faster after strenuous activity or exercise. That is fitness!
4. Figure out your average number of hours of sleep over 5 days & make sure you get at least 7.5 hours of sleep per night on average. If you are sleeping less than 7.5 hours on average, then you need to make it up over several days and find a way to get adequate sleep in the future. Determine which nights you can make up your sleep on a regular basis…your “make up sleep debt” nights. These are often the days when you can sleep in as late as you need.

Healthier Together Series: Cycle 2A. Nutrition – Hydrate

marek-levak-NEWFRkV4F3s-unsplashToday’s nutrition notes:

At this point, learn how to stay hydrated. Unless you have heart failure, chronic kidney disease or liver failure, or your doctor tells you to restrict your fluid intake, you will benefit from hydration.

Water is necessary for survival and optimum functioning of all of your body and cells. Many if us are in a chronic mild dehydration state. It’s hard to remember to drink water if you are running around and busy. Your body can function better if you rehydrate yourself.

You will know you have enough water if your urine is clearer and less yellow and you are going to the bathroom at least once every 3-4 hours while you are awake. The amount of water you need will vary, but you can know you need more water if your urine is getting darker or more concentrated in color.

When you first increase your water intake, you may have to go to the bathroom more often but your body (kidneys) will adjust. It may take a few days to adjust.

How can you increase your water intake?

1. Get a water bottle or other beverage container/glass you like. It may be colorful or steel or a certain shape. You may like straws if you wear lipstick and don’t want the lipstick mark on your cup/bottle.

2. Put your water in a visible location, easy to reach. You can take sips all day.

3. Make your water interesting. Try sliced lemon, lime, cucumbers, &/or sprigs of mint leaves. Try dropping some berries in your water. Make an UNSWEETENED herbal or green tea & have it hot or iced. You can try all sorts of teas and combos of fruit and herbs steeping in your water for infinite flavors. Some people have it chilling overnight in a large jug for the next day. In the morning, they take out the berries, cucumber, etc. before drinking the flavored water or pouring it into their water bottle to take to work, school or the gym.

4. Link a drink of water with a routine activity. For example, every time before you stand up from your desk, you might take a swig of your water. Or every time you check email, you will drink some water.

5. Log your water intake on an app on your phone or in a notebook and mark each time you have a drink and aim for a certain amount you know is right for you. This works well for people who like records of what they are doing, their progress.

Bottom line: find what works for you and stay hydrated! Your body will be able to better take care of you if you give it what it needs. Have fun with it!

Photo by Marek Levák on Unsplash