Hydration and Flexibilty

By: Nick Lape CPT

Every one of us at one point has spent time in a science class of some kind. Which means we have all heard the fact that our bodies are made up of at least 70% water. We have water in our muscles, our connective tissues, our brain, and even our blood. That means our hydration status can affect all of these things. Headaches, fatigue, “brain fog,” are all side effects of dehydration. But, did you know that being chronically dehydrated can change our flexibility? Think of a sponge, when it doesn’t have water, it becomes hard, dried out, and doesn’t move well at all. Add water to it and guess what, it is now pliable, soft and absorbent. This is how our muscles react with water as well.

Recently I had the fortune of speaking with a licensed massage therapist, Johanna Mertensmeyer, about what it feels like when people are dehydrated. As a massage therapist, she explained to me that she can actually feel when a muscle has become a “dried sponge.” The muscle doesn’t move; it can’t release and remains ‘knotted’ or unworkable. She compares this to “massaging a brick wall.” Johanna, stated that these people more often than not, have major stress in their lives and an inability to relax.

Johanna’s advice to her clients is to drink half their body weight in ounces of water each day. Obviously, if you are more active you will need more fluids than if you aren’t an active person to replenish what you lose in sweat. A good way to tell if you are hydrated is by the color of your urine. A light yellow to clear color means you are hydrated, If it is dark yellow, you need more fluid. Johanna also likes to tell her clients to spend time breathing or even meditating during their day because the more water and better oxygen levels your body has, the more malleable your body can become bother during a massage session as well as a training session.

Now, what does this mean for your workouts. What happens if you are chronically dehydrated? I’ll bring you back to the sponge example. If you fail to hydrate properly, you “dry up.” Muscles fail to work. This has the possibility to result in you becoming very inflexible or immobile, somewhat like a dry sponge. And then comes the slippery slope of movement compensations. Because your muscles can’t move through a proper range of motion, with time these issues can only become worse.

We get so many questions about how water can truly effect someone’s workout and lifestyle. A quote from Johanna provides a simple answer, “Water has a similar effect on a plant that it has on a person; when you drink the proper amount, you awaken. Your body moves better and you just feel better.” It’s true. Our bodies aren’t made up of all of this water for no reason. It’s a true sign that without water and proper hydration with it, we can become stiff, immovable people. Once that begins to happen, we become the sponge I mentioned earlier, dried out and stiff. Stay hydrated! Your body needs it!!

Five Nutrition Habits to Health

By: Suzanne Doerries RD, LD

???????????????????????????????????Spring is here and delicious fruits and veggies are beginning to be in season. This usually motivates people to eat healthier. In addition to good nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management play a huge role in health. However, today I want to focus on five habits to improve your nutrition and your health. How many of these do you do on a regular basis?

  1. Make half your plate veggies (and I don’t mean fries). Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. They fill you up and give your body the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Be sure to include a variety of colors! Here are a few recipes to try Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots, Spinach Avocado Quinoa Power Salad, and Kale Chips.

 

  1. Have protein with every meal. Not only does protein help to keep you full, it is essential for immune and liver health, and it helps build/maintain muscle mass. Poultry, beef, pork, eggs, nuts, and nut butters are good sources of protein. Poultry, beef, and pork are the highest in protein per gram. Choosing the grass fed, pasture raised beef, chicken, pork, or eggs does make a difference. These items have more omega-3s than their counter part. I know from experience that breakfast is usually the hardest meal to get protein. Here are two recipes to help with the most important meal of the day Avocado Egg Bake and Muffin Tin Baked Eggs.

 

  1. Drink half your weight in ounces of water. This is a just a guideline. If you are more active you will need more water. Water helps to transport nutrients and oxygen that help grow and repair cells, messages from hormones, and cell waste. It helps to remove toxins from the body and plays a role in reactions in the body. In addition to lubricating the joints, digestive tract, and lungs, it helps pad your joints and spine. Adequate water also helps your skin to look good! If your body is dehydrated you automatically have a decrease in performance, you can confuse thirst or hunger, and you may experience “brain fog.” Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go to stay hydrated.

 

  1. Slow down when you eat. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your body to catch up to what you just put in it. If you shovel your food in, the chances of overeating are greater. Eating slower allows you to pay more attention to the way your food tastes creating greater satisfaction.

 

  1. Plan ahead. You have probably heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is especially true with food. If you do not know what you are going to eat how can you make sure it will be there for you? Know at least a day in advance what you will eat and prep accordingly. Making your protein (chicken, beef, pork…) ahead of time can make week night meals a lot more convenient.

If it seems overwhelming to do all five of these things at once, choose one to start with. Once you feel confident with that, add another habit. Which habit will you start with first?