Hydration is key to having a great class and good hydration is more than just pounding water.
Here are some quick tips to help you stay on top of your game.
Most of your fluid absorption happens in your colon or large intestine. It takes about 60-70 minutes for fluids to get from your mouth to your blood vessels through your colon. Your body gets the water it uses for sweating from your bloodstream.
The water you drink way before you come to class is the water your body will use for cooling and to maintain your blood pressure in class. Coming to class dehydrated can even make you feel dizzy or nauseated.
Hydration for the class you’re going to take can even start the night before. Drink in the morning or throughout the day before you come to class and you’re sure to feel on top of your game.
2. Listen to your body
In our busy culture, we train ourselves to ignore our bodies’ signals. In a 2009 Purdue study published in Journal of the American Diabetes Association, researchers found that Americans rarely ate when they were hungry nor drank when they were thirsty. Instead, they ate when they usually ate and drank when they usually drank.
If you tune in, your body will tell you when it needs more fluids. Listen up and grab a drink. You may notice that you even crave fluid-dense foods when it’s warmer outside or you’ve been sweating.
3. Eat your fluids
Hydration isn’t just about drinking water. Many of the foods we eat contain high levels of water, often in combination with essential electrolytes. This includes foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, soups, smoothies, and juices. It also includes fluids contained in cooked, moist foods, too.
Whatever form you consume fluids, it all counts toward hydration.
Some drugs have diuretic effects and can spur a need for more fluids for your hot practice. Some foods have a similar diuretic effect like black cumin, ginger, parsley, dandelion, hibiscus, alcohol, and caffeine. Adjust your hydration accordingly.
4. Add in electrolytes
Your body requires electrolytes to maintain fluid balance. In fact, water can’t get into your cells without sodium-potassium pumps built right into your cell walls.
When you work hard and sweat, you not only lose salts through your sweat, your body also metabolizes electrolytes at a faster rate.
For the average yogi, you may notice you crave salty foods after class and that’s your body trying to replace these lost salts, but it’s not just sodium you need. Potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese and more have been found to be excreted in sweat.
You can replace lost electrolytes like potassium by eating lots of whole foods, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and grains, adding sea salt to your diet for micronutrients, and eating ocean foods like seaweed.
Sports drinks are not recommended as they contain mostly sugar, dyes, and artificial flavorings. You can make your own sports drink or use a high-quality electrolyte replacement. We sell Superieur Electrolytes at the studio because they are the most natural, effective and sustainably-sourced product on the market.
5. Set a goal
Some research shows that eating a high-fat or high-sugar diet can weaken thirst sensitivity. If you’re not sure you can trust your craving for hydration yet, set a simple daily goal for hydration.
A simple place to start is with this common hydration equation. Start with your body weight in pounds and divide that number by two. Set a goal to drink that number of ounces of water per day.
Test it out. Does that feel like enough water to you? Too much? With a little practice, this goal can become a habit that leads to you trusting your body’s signals for thirst.
If you’re taking a hot yoga or Pilates class or it’s really hot out, add an additional liter of fluid to your daily goal.