Tony Kim

Tony Kim

As we roll into the bright, warm months of summer, and enjoy the seemly ever-awaited rays of the warm summer sun, we'll tend to feel trickles of sweat gliding down our skin – especially if you're one of the many active community members at Ames Field for this month's "Free Workout Saturdays."

And as we sweat, one of the first thoughts that may come to mind is, "I sure could use a cold one right now."

And that's right; you sure could use a cold one – a cold glass of water that is.

The importance of hydration is probably one of the most frequently talked-about topics not only in fitness but in general health and wellness. That's because it is one of the most neglected nutrients that will always remain as an essential and critical part of our health and wellness.

This is because it helps balance many of our internal and external bodily systems. For instance, organs such as your brain, lungs, kidneys and heart all depend on water to help with their daily function. Additionally, your blood is comprised mostly of water.

Externally, it can have a huge influence, too. Think back to that bead of sweat trickling down your skin. Not only is that your body's way of cooling down/staying cool, but it's your body losing water. And if it keeps losing water without you re-hydrating, talk about a disaster waiting to happen.

Of course, you'll never truly shrivel up, but the point I'm trying to get across is that many individuals don't realize how much water and proper hydration influences their daily lives.

Let's take a look at a few health benefits of proper hydration:

• Healthier skin, bones/joints.

• Better functioning muscles.

• Better brain function.

• Aids in weight loss in conjunction with exercise and proper dieting.

• Improves digestion.

• Helps prevent urinary tract infection and kidney disease.

• Helps with circulation.

• Benefits athletic performance through sodium/potassium/electrolyte balance.

• Helps absorb the variety of nutrients you take in daily.

The list really can go on and on. But the questions that may remain on the minds of many active (or soon to be more active) individuals may be, "how much is enough," or, "can I drink too much water," and even, "how do I even keep track of it?"

Well, the simple answer to the first and second question is that you can never drink enough water. Why? Because any that you don't use will end up being flushed from your body anyway.

One easy way to keep track of your water may be just to keep some type of water container with you at all times – whether that be a plastic 20-ounce container or even a gallon jug of water.

Whatever is most convenient for you and allows you to adhere to keeping your water intake steady is what you should use.

Tony Kim is a trainer at Anytime Fitness in Michigan City. He can be reached at 219-878-8400.

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