Monday, May 7, 2012

Recalibrate To Hydrate!

It's the mantra that I have been blurting out during my Zumba classes the last couple of weeks. The weather in most areas of the country are switching over to a warmer climate as Summer approaches.

Often we don't realize how different our hydration habits are at different times of the year, depending on the temperatures of where we might live.

Sure, on a hot day we will definitely grab an extra glass of water, especially if we are working up a sweat. But that is a response to thirst. Our mouth is dry, our throat feels arid, maybe a headache is ramping up. What about the parts of our body we can't necessarily "feel" the same way?

What about our fascia?

I have wanted to do a post on fascia and dehydration for a few weeks now. In researching for it I came across this site that has a great explanation of both fascia and the effects of dehydration.

"The Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein as well as all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate covering. It is actually one structure that exists from head to foot without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater."

It would seem that our fascia is pretty darned important! Water is the main lubricant.

"Fascia holds water in like a sponge and if put under duress, it can dehydrate and become hard, gel-like and sticky. As a side point, remember that 70% of the body is water and 70% of the muscle (which is broken down into fascial sheaths) is also water."

So while Myofascial Release can work to lubricate this intricate system, dehydration can definitely hinder the process.

"When dehydration of the fascia occurs because of physical and emotional distress, water is pushed out of the tissue. Basically, dehydration turns this lubricant – like solution to more of a gel-like glue. Hence the critical fiber distance is reduced and the collagen fibers don’t glide as smoothly."

One snag in this "sweater" can cause an unwanted pull elsewhere in the fascia. More thickening and less pliability. More restrictions on mobility. Yikes!

Cassidy Phillips, CEO and founder of TPTherapy has a great diagram on the hazards of the  injury cycle.

Whether you are an athlete, fitness enthusiast (dance fitness!), a dancer or a weekend warrior, it pays to take heed of your body's need for adequate hydration!

 Here's a link to the Mayo Clinic's recommendations for water, or fluid intake. Remember, caffinated drinks and booze don't count! Sugary drinks cause your body to blow through a lot of water just to process, as well as not being that good for you.

8 8 oz. glasses of water a day is standard most likely because it is easy to remember, but your activity level may warrant a larger intake.

I'm gonna get me a tall glass of water right now!

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

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