Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Do you drink enough water every day? More than half your body weight is made up of water, and every single one of your organ systems need it to function optimally. In fact, research has shown that even mild dehydration can worsen athletic performance, reduce ability to concentrate, and can increase anxiety and fatigue. Consider the implications this can have while you're riding or even doing groundwork!
You don't need me to tell you that our horses feed off of our energy, so imagine having control of just one dietary habit that may help with show nerves, help improve concentration so you can remember your courses and dressage tests easier, and help improve your energy levels while you ride. It's actually pretty amazing to think that just one thing can have a pretty strong impact on your riding, and yet this is one of the most overlooked aspects in many riders diets!
So, should you follow the guideline of drinking 8 cups per day?
For some people, yes, that's an adequate amount. For others it may be too much and for others, not enough. Fluid needs depend on a number of factors including age, gender, climate, physical activity, and the presence of certain medical conditions. In general, fluid needs increase with higher temperature, humidity, travel, altitude and harder training. If you're training/riding 60 minutes or less, you can stick with water. If it's >90 minutes, you should replete electrolytes along with fluid that gets lost through your sweat. This can be done with a sports drink, electrolyte powder packets, or tablets.
What's the easiest way to make sure you're drinking enough?
Monitor the color of your urine (refer to the urine color chart to the below). You want to aim for urine color to be around a 2-3. Some signs of dehydration include headache, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, nausea, muscle cramps and dark colored urine (4-5 on the urine color chart below).
Here are 6 easy ways to help you increase your fluid intake:
1). Make large batches of unsweetened iced tea for you to enjoy throughout the week.
2). Make your own spa water! Infuse it with your favorite fruits, veggies (think cucumber), mint, basil etc.
3). Set an alarm every hour to remind you to drink OR download an app that will help track your progress. Some of my favorite apps include:
-Daily Water Tracker
-Drink Water Reminder
4). Mix it up with some sparkling water.
5). Don't forget about your fruits and veggies! They also happen to contain water that can help keep you hydrated.
6). Make homemade popsicles! Just blend water with your favorite fruit, pour it into a popsicle mold, put it into the freezer until frozen, and enjoy on a hot day!
What's your favorite way to hydrate? Let me know in the comment section below! You can also connect with GE on Instagram by tagging @gavi.equestrian and using #GaviEquestrian