Water Water Everywhere

How much water is enough?

The answer may surprise you. I took a random survey to see how much water people were actually drinking throughout the day. The answers ranged anywhere from two glasses of water to 128oz (1 gallon). However, the most interesting comments were from those who did not answer with an amount. Rather than listing an amount they simply said “not enough” or “I need more”. Being honest with yourself about your water consumption is important. Let’s look at first how much water you should be drinking.
There are many tricks to figuring out how much water is good for your body. One that was stated in the survey was dividing your body weight in half and then drinking that amount in ounces was what worked for them. Then we have the old rule of thumb was 8 glasses of water per day, or drink so that you are rarely thirsty and your urine is a pale yellow. According to The Mayo Clinic, men should be drinking a minimum of 13 cups (3 liters)and women should drink 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water per day. Take a look at your average day, do you drink that amount? Less? More?
The amounts listed are minimum requirements. Requirements? For what? Keeping a properly hydrated body is essential. The human body is composed of about 60% water. Water is needed to perform daily bodily functions such as circulation, digestion and absorption, maintenance of your body temperature, creation of saliva, tears and other needed fluids. Water also helps our skin, a vital organ, too look full and younger. As your water intake decreases your skin becomes dry and wrinkles.
Dehydration is an undesirable effect of improper water replacement. It has many physical and mental side effects. Dehydration can lead to headaches, dry lips, cracked skin, slower healing process, constipation, rapid heart beat, and in some severe cases delirium. It can even alter brain and physical functions. This change in your brain functions, leaving your mood altered and your reactions delayed. Dehydration also causes a lack in physical function. You will find that you cannot perform as well not only in your work out but also in every day tasks. With your body not functioning properly your metabolism will slow down as well as your ability to lose weight. In extreme conditions it can cause depression, shock and comas.
If the amounts listed by The Mayo Clinic are required minimums, when should we be increasing our water intake? Think about times when you find yourself looking for water. Hot environments, perhaps summer, when you’re working out, when you’re sick. All of these factors and even some diseases or ailments have us parched. Please make sure to increase the amount you drink based upon the increased intensity or duration of your workout, how long you will be exposed to the heat or sun, replenishing what you have lost while ill and, of course, see your doctor to maintain proper hydration for any condition you may have.
Here are a few tricks and reminders to help you keep you hydration levels high and stay healthy.
1). Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
2). Have a glass before, during and after you exercise.
3). Eat fruits and vegetables with high fluid content as 20% of our hydration can come from food.
4). Keep a bottle of water on you at all times, in the car, in your bag, even at your desk.
5). Drink a glass of water before you go to bed and when you wake up.

Try a new one of these suggestions every week and see how you feel better as your hydration habits get better.

 

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Are you taking care of your body?

Why do we encourage our clients to do self myofascial release (SMR) when it has the potential to be painful.  Isn’t the first rule of training clients to do no harm?  In the case of SMR, the pain is actually a good thing.

For some of you, you may be thinking, “what the hell is he talking about?”

Well SMR pretty much is a mini self massage through the use of foam rollers, lacrosse balls, tennis balls, massage balls and many other tools.  (For a good resource, check out Trigger Point Therapy).

Anatomy/Physiology Lesson:
Muscles are made up of little fibers and cells.  All muscles have fibers that align in a specific direction and all have the potential to grow in size(hypertrophy) and get stronger.  However, when we exercise, these little fibers get what we call “micro tears” in which the body has to heal.  When healed correctly, the muscle ends up stronger than before.  As with any “injury,” whether intentional (exercise) or unintentional (sprains, tears, strains etc) scar tissue (think of a web) is formed.

This is where good movement skills come in to play.  When you have solid movement patterns, this scar tissue easily aligns with the surrounding muscle fibers.  When you have less than stellar movement patterns, or a more serious injury, bigger, more restrictive areas of scar tissue forms, causing knots to form.  As what is often the case, most people have compensation patterns and often times form knots in several areas, namely shoulders, neck, upper back/traps.

Solution:
You need to break up these “knots” using the previously mentioned foam rollers and balls.  As painful as it may be sometimes to break them up, it actually has tremendous benefit.  For one, you increase blood flow to the area, which will encourage the healing process.  Secondly putting pressure on these spots pulls on the scar tissue and forces it to realign with the surrounding muscle fibers.

Grab a foam roller or lax ball or massage ball.  Find those knots, and work them out.  It may be painful, but the only way to restore proper function to the muscle is to work through that pain (this is the only place I’ll say “work through the pain”).  I can guarantee it’ll be the most uncomfortable thing you’ll do in a gym, but in the long run, it will be worth it.  The major spots that I see the most issues are the hips/glutes and upper back/shoulder/neck.

At AMP, we encourage, sometimes down right force our clients to do all sorts of SMR and stretching.  AMP now has an LMT on staff to do Sports Massage to help aid in recovery and “treatment” of any aches, pains, or dysfunctions you may have. 
We do this because we know that in the long run our clients will benefit.  And in the end, that’s what it’s all about.