Hydration isn't simply about drinking 8 glasses of water a day anymore.  While this rule will often help people to prevent dehydration, your intake of fluids is a bit more complicated.  Especially in instances where people are physically active - whether by running or zumba - you will require more fluid intake.  Also, it isn't just about water anymore. 

Dehydration means that the cells in your body are not able to recover from injury as well and it makes cells more 'brittle' in a sense and are less resilient.  Dehydration can be caused by either inadequate fluid intake, excessive fluid output, or a combination of the two.  The effects of dehydration include muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue and heat injury (such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion).  When you sweat, you put out both water and electrolytes, which is why some people advocate for gatorade or powerade.  Be weary though - some of these beverages contain a lot of sugar that can counter your workout.  For a recipe to make your own gatorade, click here.

Because hydration can be affected by many factors - including altitude, temperature, sweating and the duration and intensity of exercise - it is best to be able to monitor your individual hydration status.  We have all heard that thirst is a reflex - and a poor one at that, as by the time you feel thirsy you are likely already dehydrated!  For that reason, it is important to drink frequently throughout the day and monitor your urine output and color.  Urine should be pale yellow and you should urinate every few hours.  If urine is clear - you may have TOO much water (a condition call hyponatremia) which represents a relative low electrolyte balance.  If urine is dark and you urinate infrequently, you are likely dehydrated.  If you exercise, keeping track of your weight pre- and post-work out is important to know how much fluid needs to be replaced.

Hydration is essential to your foot health and your overall health!  A lack of hydration can ultimately result in injured muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Furthermore, after experiencing an injury (or especially after undergoing surgery), staying well hydrated can help promote uncomplicated healing and reduce recovery time.