Hydration is one of the most important topics when it comes to nutrition for active women. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked due to busy schedules, diet culture myths in addition to being seen as a lower priority. Yet, proper hydration on a daily basis is important. It can greatly improve overall health, digestion, immunity, longevity, and performance.
Drinking enough water on a daily basis is important for multiple reasons. Hydration plays an essential role in:
-Regulating body temperature
-Keeping joints lubricated
-Delivering nutrients to cells
Did you know that proper hydration can improve sleep, cognition, digestion, skin and hair health, and even mood?
Most importantly, for active women and athletes, dehydration, or a loss of only 1-2% of body mass, has been shown to negatively impact performance. Dehydration can impact performance by:
-Increasing heart rate
-Decreasing the ability to regulate body temperature
-Causing early onset fatigue
-Increasing the perception of effort
-Decreasing attention span
All of these factors can limit an individual’s fitness ability. Lack of adequate hydration can decrease response time and increase risk of injury. Further, it can even cause gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, and delayed gastric emptying.
Most importantly, the risk for heat illness and hyponatremia with a poor hydration plan is very dangerous. Thus, it’s important that athletes keep these things in mind when building their daily and training hydration schedules.
Electrolytes play a key role in the body. Muscle contractions, pH levels, the nervous system, and proper hydration all depend on a healthy balance of electrolytes. However, these electrolytes including potassium, sodium, and chloride are lost in our sweat and urine. Without enough electrolytes, you risk over hydrating with water, cramping up, and not getting the most out of the fluids that you’re already drinking.
Most individuals can get get a healthy balance of electrolytes through a nutritious diet. But, some people, including active women and athletes, may need to supplement with additional electrolytes to meet their needs.
For example, here are a few instances when added electrolytes may be necessary for your hydration plan:
-If training or exercising for more than 1 hour
-If you’re a heavy sweater e.g. excessive weight loss during workouts, a white ring around clothes, or just sweating more than others
-Exercising in the high heat
-Two or more training sessions in a day
-Regular alcohol intake
-Recurring diarrhea or loose stools e.g. food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s or colitis, celiac disease, etc.
-Other chronic diseases where optimal hydration is essential to management, like postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POT-S), eating disorders, multiple sclerosis, sojourn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, etc
Daily fluid needs can vary quite a bit. It depends on body size, metabolic rate, diet, exercise or training regimen, environment, and individual physiology (like sweat rate). In most healthy active women, daily hydration maintenance often doesn’t need a set plan. Simply aiming to consume around 75 ounces or 10 cups of fluid per day with additional fluids for training and exercise can help you keep up with fluid needs.
As noted, several circumstances may require active women to be more diligent about their daily fluid and electrolyte intake. One of my favorite easy ways to optimize my hydration is with Buoy, an oral hydration solution that can be added to any beverage or fluid. Yes, ANY, beverage. It even comes in a convenient miniature bottle that you can take with you anywhere.
Each squirt of Buoy is packed with a dose of electrolytes to help optimize hydration with every sip. In addition, it contains B-vitamins to support cellular metabolism, optimal brain function, and healthy red blood cells. Even better? The ingredients in Buoy are 100% natural with no added calories or sugar.
This is the ideal solution for anyone who can benefit from added electrolytes (see list above) in their daily life. Most importantly, Buoy can help you optimize your daily hydration efforts when consumed on a daily basis, ultimately improving your performance and health.
Giersch GEW, Charkoudian N, Stearn RL, Casa, DJ. Fluid Balance and Hydration Considerations for Women: Review and Future Directions. Sports Medicine. 2020.
Lesli Bonci MPH, RD, CSSD. Hydrating for Top Performance. Sports Nutrition for Coaches. 2009.