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Stay Hydrated by Mark Michniak


Here in the Chicago area, we get the extreme ends of weather. This past winter, we had one of the coldest days in Chicago history as the wind chill got to -50 degrees! Then in summer, the temperatures can reach upper 90’s, or on occasion, lower 100’s, with 100% humidity.

When I was in martial arts, as I noted in my last blog, we worked-out…HARD! When we got through exercising, we were dripping in sweat. Even in winter, when it would be 10 degrees outside, we would workout so hard that we would steam-up the windows in our dojon. Every class, our instructor would say the same thing: make sure you drink plenty of water! It didn’t matter if it was hot or cold outside, we always heard and most people heeded the warning.

Sure enough, one class, we had a younger guy, about 17 years old, start to pass out while we were standing in class listening to our instructor to talk on a hot 85 degree day. We lined-up in two rows facing each other and he was standing right in front of me on the other side of the room. I saw him sway a little, take two steps backwards, and put his arm out, stopping himself against the wall. Our instructor immediately ran over, slowly lowered him to ground, and two people grabbed some water and wet towels which he slowly sipped while the towels were draped across his neck. We hadn’t even started our workout yet! Talk about irony.

Now I just spent six years working in the Water Industry. The company I worked for manufactured and distributed bottleless water coolers so businesses did not have to lift and store those big 42lb bottles of water in traditional water coolers. Our product was by far the best on the market and I believed in it so much that the company let employees buy one for their homes as an employee perk and we bought one for our house!

Between watching the young guy almost pass out and being in the water business, there is one thing I practice: I drink plenty of water everyday and especially so when I am sweating a lot! I do not want to be that young guy, passing-out because I did not consume enough water. Even if you are not sweating, drink water.

In today’s culture, it is not hard to have water readily available with cases of water sold everywhere and the invention of sports bottles. Everywhere I go I have at least one bottle of water in my car. Last month, my boss and I were driving around together in his car and brought with me my sports bottle with water in it. As soon as I feel the first sense of dehydration coming on I down some water.

My daughters get a lot of headaches. When I was a kid, I use to get headaches a lot as well. Every time they come up to me and tell me they have a headache, I utter the same words to them, “did you have anything to drink recently”. Nine times out of time their answer is ‘No”, in which I instruct them to go get some water and guess what? Sure enough, their headache disappears.

When I exercise or if I take our dog for a walk, as soon as I get in the house I reach for water. I know a lot of people grab Gatorade or some kind of a sports drink after a hard sweat. I trained, ran, and completed the Chicago Marathon in 2007. In one of the books I read to help with my training, the author said he always drank lots of water and only reached for a sports drink after he had downed a lot of water. Sports drinks were not his first go-to as they contain a lot of salt and even low-sugar ones still have some sugar. They do contain electrolytes which need to be replaced and are the major reason for drinking them. I agree with his assessment and do drink sports drinks, but in moderation and only after drinking a lot of water first.

The best part about drinking water now-adays is that you can put so many things in it so that you are not always drinking just plain water. For many years I only drank plain water until someone introduced me to adding drops of lemon or lime juice to it. My wife has bought these flavored, zero sugar, flavorings that can be added to water to give one a different taste as well. Cutting-up fresh fruit REALLY adds a nice taste and because it is all natural and you get the fruit taste while hydrating!

So if you don’t drink a lot of water, please consider doing so, especially when it very hot outside or if you are doing a lot of sweating. Be like me and make your body happy!

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