5 tips for adequate hydration:
• Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water (if you weigh 160 lbs, drink 80 oz of water each day).
• Carry a BPA-free bottle everywhere with you as a reminder to keep drinking.
• Eat raw fruits and vegetables—they are dense in water. You can get water from food, not just from beverages.
• Add a pinch of sea salt to your water.
• Drink water and other fluids until you urinate frequently and with light color.
There are a ton of reasons why staying hydrated is important, but one that is often overlooked is the effect of hydration or dehydration on facia.
Many people think of fascia as a seamless piece of tissue that saran wraps you just beneath the skin. But fascia is more than just superficial; it is also a richly multi-dimensional tissue that forms your internal soft tissue architecture, shaping the pods that actually create your musculature like a honeycomb. Sounds important, right?
Hydrated fascia is happy fascia. The best analogy I can give is of a sponge. When a sponge dries out it becomes brittle and hard. When a sponge is wet and well hydrated it is springy and resilient. You can crush it into a little ball and it bounces back. You can wring it and twist it, but it is difficult to break.
Once we understand that our fascia is pretty similar to a sponge, keeping our fascia hydrated takes on more importance. Our mobility, structural integrity, and resilience are determined in large part by how well hydrated our fascia is. In fact, what we call “stretching a muscle” is actually the fibers of the connective tissue gliding along one another. These layers of connective tissue can glue together when water is absent, or skate and slide on one another when hydrated. If we get “dried out” we are more brittle and are at much greater risk for injury.
So, drink more water, right? Well, yes and no. Staying hydrated by drinking continues to be important, but if you have dehydrated fascia it’s more likely you have little kinks in your “hoses,” which means all that water you drink can’t actually reach the dehydrated tissue. To be able to get the fluid to all those hard-to-reach places you need to be better irrigated. And to do that, you’ve got to get to work on your soft tissue, untangling the gluey bits and getting the kinks out. A body worker who specializes in any form of myofascial work can help, or you can use the smashing, mobility work, and exercise we assign.
Another important mobility healer is to give your body ample time to rest. Tom Myers, fascial educator and creator of Anatomy Trains says, “Rest is how the tissues rehydrate. When you do heavy exercise you are driving the water out of the tissue in the same way that if you step on a wet beach you push the water out of the sand, and when you pick up your foot the water seeps back into that sand. You’re doing the same thing with tissues, when you’re really working out you are driving the water out of the tissue while you are working…The rhythm of your fitness regimen should include some rest… When you take the strain off of the tissues, like a sponge they will suck up that water and be ready for more exercise.”