Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

Staying Hydrated and Fit This Summer: Plank, Drank and Thank Us Later

Staying hydrated is essential in Florida's summer months, when the heat index can often reach triple digits. Dehydration can cause heat illnesses, and chronic dehydration can lead to other complications such as kindey stones. Roughly 60% of our bodies are made up of water—no wonder we need to replenish it daily!

Each summer, UF and UF Health employees take part in the Plank and Drank challenge to promote proper hydration and physical health. This year's challenge wraps up on August 2.

Each day, employees are encouraged to hold a plank position for a certain amount of time and document their water intake. The goal is for employees to strengthen their core muscles, while at the same time developing healthy habits for proper water consumption. Supplying the body with enough water can increase an individual’s cognitive and physical functions, and improve their overall health conditions.

While our challenge is ending - yours has just begun! Invite your friends and family to take part in your own home version this August.

UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez displays proper planking technique.

Above: UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez displays proper planking technique. “Hydration is the core of overall wellness." he said. "Medical professionals all believe that properly hydrating the body is important whether you are an athlete or someone working up on their feet all day long."

Drinking enough water

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: 3.7 liters for men, and 2.7 liters for women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend drinking one 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15–20 minutes while working in extreme heat, which would equal 24–32 ounces per hour.

Keeping a proper hydration level has many beneficial effects:

  • It maintains one’s body’s fluid balance, which regulates normal functioning like digestion and body temperature
  • It fuels muscles, lubricates the joints and boosts energy
  • It improves focus and promotes clearer thinking
  • It can create a feeling of “fullness,” which can contribute to weight loss

Why Planking?

In addition to taking in enough water daily, it is important to incorporate static core exercises, like planking. Planking has many benefits on the body including building strength, stability and frame of mind.

  • Planking strengthens one’s core muscles, which leads to better stability and performance of daily activities
  • Planking helps alleviate back pain by strengthening back muscles
  • Planking can enhance a person's mood by releasing “feel good” endorphins
  • Planking improves posture and balance

When doing these type of static core exercises, it is important for one to make sure they are using the proper form:

  • Plank from your hands or forearms
  • Maintain hands or elbows directly underneath the shoulders
  • Never clasp your hands when performing a plank
  • Keep your spine straight and head neutral (eyes forward, not looking up or down)

Keep a Record

Keep a log of your water intake and record the time you plank each day. Keeping a record helps for you to develop a routine and to see how you improve over time. You can use GatorCare's July 2020 Plank & Drank calendars as a start for creating your own!

About the Author

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Kyndal Rock

Social Media Intern

Kyndal Rock is a public relations major at the University of Florida, originally from Vero...Read More