The Importance of Staying Hydrated

We all know how important water is — after all, it’s essential to life and critical for optimal performance. Progressive dehydration from exercise or fireground operations impairs performance, mental capacity, and perception of effort — and it can be life-threatening.

Throughout the chaos of running calls, it is extremely important to play close attention to how you are hydrating before, during and after. It’s also important to be mindful of weather conditions if exercising or working outdoors for any length of time. Heat and humidity are factors of dehydration, along with the duration and intensity of work. So how much should you drink?

Making a blanket statement about how much everyone should drink is difficult. That’s why recommendations are based on your individual weight: 0.5 ounces of water per pound of body weight. Example: A 150-pound person should drink at least 75 ounces daily. What should you drink? Most of your fluid intake should be water.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your morning cup o’ joe. It just means that most of the fluid you’re drinking should be plain ol’ water. Can you add some mix-ins? Sure. But for most of your intake, stick with water. Once you reach those upper limits of water consumption (i.e., > 100 ounces), or during times of excessive sweat loss during exercise or fireground operations, it is important to keep electrolytes in the balance because too much of anything (including water) is never good. Adding in an electrolyte tab (e.g, Nuun) or even making your own drink ensures the water gets fully absorbed into your body.

Hint: Gatorade and other sports drinks are not the best options — they often contain the wrong combination of electrolytes and carbs. They also often contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, and dyes.

Two easy solutions:

1) Mix up a homemade recipe like the one below.

2) Add ¼ tsp of sea salt to your water bottle and shake to dissolve. Homemade Sports’ Drink Recipe: 4 cups water (option to do half with coconut water)
¼ tsp. Himalayan Pink sea salt
½ tsp. calcium magnesium powder
½ cup 100% juice (ex: orange juice)
1 tbsp honey

Option: 2 tbsp. lemon juice Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher and stir until the salt dissolves.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this resource is for general education purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical conditions. Check with your health practitioner before making diet and lifestyle changes.