LiveWell Northwest Colorado: Healthy hydration for high performance |

LiveWell Northwest Colorado: Healthy hydration for high performance

Barb Parnell/For the Steamboat Today

Barb Parnell

There’s Olympic fever in the Yampa Valley, so I asked a former Olympian, Caroline Lalive Carmichael, about how important drinking water was to her success.

Lalive Carmichael stated: "As an athlete I always struggled with dehydration. While out on the snow or glacier, I felt like I never had time or remembered to hydrate. Our physiologist recommended that I try to consume the majority of my water/hydration mix from 4:30 to 7 p.m. This allowed my body to maximize the fluids and electrolytes during the night's recovery. I definitely noticed the difference as I was more energetic and had much less inflammation in the morning. Now in my post-professional athlete life, I still struggle with staying hydrated. Knowing that drinking water keeps me looking younger and feeling more vibrant is a good motivator.”

Healthy hydration is not just for Olympic athletes. The body is made up of 70 percent water but most Americans are in a state of chronic dehydration.

Did you know that chronic hydration can cause fatigue, energy loss, constipation, digestive disorders, high and low blood pressure, gastritis, respiratory problems, acid-alkaline imbalance, excess weight gain, urinary infections, rheumatism and premature aging? These potential consequences are simply the result of not drinking enough water each day.

Some researchers indicate that being adequately hydrated also can increase your ability to concentrate, problem solve and learn new tasks.

The general recommendation for the amount of water you should drink every day is 2 liters. If you are exercising, the recommendation is to increase your intake by another 1/2 to 1 liter for each hour of exercise.

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A few easy tips to help you drink up and drink often:

• Jazz water up by adding slices of oranges, lemons or cucumbers.

• Freeze fruit into ice cubes and then pop them in the water.

• Mix seltzer water with a small amount of juice.

• Have plenty of reusable water bottles on hand and take one with you everywhere you go.

• Keep a pitcher of water chilled in the front of the refrigerator. Cold water is always more enticing than room temperature.

• Take three sips of water every 10 minutes.

Water always should be your first choice for healthy hydration and to quench your thirst. And it is free! Let's work together to help make Routt County the healthiest county in Colorado by drinking more water.

Barb Parnell, of LiveWell Northwest Colorado Community, can be reached at