Coach Tip Tuesday: Hydration Lessons from Beau the Bunny
Why, hello there! Welcome back to Coach Tip Tuesday.
This week’s tip features my #1 Assistant Coach: Beau the Bunny.
Beau doesn’t say a whole lot, but his actions speak very loudly. And it is those actions that are the basis of this week’s tip.
Last week, the temperatures here in Central New York rose to the 80-90ºF range for many days in a row. While we had been experiencing a warmer-than-average spring, these higher temperatures were a deviation even from those warmer-than-average temperatures, which had been hanging out in the 50-70ºF range.
In any event, this climb to the 90s definitely represented a significant change in weather conditions here. And when this happened, what did Beau do?
Well, Beau chose to stay in his cage (which is conveniently placed right next to an HVAC vent) even when his cage door was open and he had the option to go anywhere he pleased. Additionally, he consumed twice his normal amount of water for six days.
Yep, folks, you read that right. He doubled his hydration all by himself. I didn’t have to sit and have a conversation with him, have him read an article extolling the benefits of proper hydration, or set a reminder for him to drink. He did it all by himself.
I learn a lot from watching the creatures who we share this planet with, and since I live with Beau, I learn an awful lot by watching and interacting with him. Beau is smart. Even though he only lives indoors, he sensed the shift in the weather, and he adjusted his daily behaviors accordingly so he could acclimate: He kept his body cool and he increased his hydration.
By now, you probably know why I’m sharing this story with you all. In my observation, for humans (and especially athletes), hydration ends up being SUCH a chore. We have apps, we have special water bottles, we read books, we read blog posts written by coaches - all in the name of implanting this idea that hydration is important into our heads. And yet, despite our higher-level brains and all of this knowledge, so many of us are inadequately hydrated on a regular basis.
So today, I’m here to encourage you all to learn from Beau. Hydration truly isn’t that complicated. If a rabbit can sense when it’s appropriate to increase and decrease hydration due to weather conditions, we can certainly do it, too.
Thus, this week’s tip is ultimately this: Hydrate properly on the regular and modify your daily and workout hydration accordingly when weather conditions change and/or call for it. Don’t downplay the significant role that hydration plays in how our bodies function on a day-to-day basis, and therefore how we feel on a day-to-day basis. Dehydration isn’t just something that is “nice” to talk about; it can lead to a whole host of medical issues and less-than-stellar physical sensations - many of which we often want to attribute to other and more “glamorous” causes than just a lack of good hydration habits. I think for many people, dehydration is too simple of a “reason” why they could be feeling poorly or not performing as well as they would like.
So this week, I challenge you all to monitor and log your hydration intake each day. Water and unsweetened tea count. All other beverages do not, unless it’s a sports drink consumed during a workout. Write it out or track it in an app such as Garmin Connect. You may very well be surprised to see where you actually lie as far as your hydration habits go.
And if you start to think that hydrating is hard, think about Assistant Coach Beau and how easily he just increased his intake when he sensed he should. Truly, proper hydration is not complicated or difficult. :)
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.