I am always amazed when I think about the fact that our bodies contain over 70% water. Water is important in carrying nutrients in and waste products back out of cells; drinking water is critical. It is crucial for absorption, circulatory, digestive and excretory functions as well maintaining proper body temperature. For some, it may be very obvious how important it is to drink water -especially during work outs. I know plenty of people though that rarely drink water!
By consuming enough of water each day, you can make sure that your body has all it needs to maintain good health. The best way to get the required amount of water into your body is by drinking plain water. Fruits and vegetables can be great sources of water as well. If you work out in high altitude or in a desert, or work out on a super hot day, remember to increase the amount of water you drink.
You can live without food for several weeks, but you can only go about 3 days or so without water. Water must be replaced in the body on a continuous basis. On average, just with breathing alone you lose 250 milliliters of water daily. The rule of thumb is to drink at least eight glasses (or 2 liters) of water a day. Experts have not agreed on one universal amount, but it has been accepted that performance declines with dehydration.
According to Wikipedia, dehydration is defined as
1. The process of removing water from a substance or compound
2. An abnormal loss of water from the body, esp. from illness or physical exertion
When you lose more fluid than you take in, your body doesn’t have enough water to carry out other functions.
Other factors that cause dehydration include exercising in hot weather, intense diarrhea, vomiting, fever or excessive sweating.
Typically, a mild case of dehydration can be reversed quickly by drinking more fluids, but severe cases of dehydration will require immediate medical treatment.
Some of the symptoms of dehydration include headache, poor concentration, tiredness, and constipation.
If you don’t drink enough water and are seriously dehydrated, then your electrolytes become low. If you feel that you need extra electrolytes because you were sweating excessively, you can make your own by mixing 1 cup water, 1 cup orange juice, and a pinch of salt. The Emergen-C packets by Alacer Corporation are also great for taking in electrolytes. They come in different flavors; taste great, and are full of vitamin B and vitamin C.
Drinking Water During Work Outs
Starting out hydrated is a must if you exercise in the morning. Taking in at least one glass of water shortly after waking up is a great way to hydrate your system. I realize it can be a bit uncomfortable to drink water on an empty stomach- it is for me at least.
Remember though, you’ve just awakened from not drinking water between 8-to 10-hours. Because proper hydration improves the quality of your workout, reduces fatigue, reduces recovery time, and increases your level of satisfaction, it is especially important for you to hydrate yourself before as well as after your workout session. According to one study, the following is recommended:
· 15 minutes before you begin, drink between 8 and 10 ounces of water
· During your workout, drink another 8 ounces every 15 minutes.
You lose water during exercise even if you don’t sweat. Keep in mind that being thirsty is not the best way to measure if your body is well hydrated. If your urine is very light colored, you’re doing well; if by chance it is dark yellow, you need to increase the amount of water you drink
If you love your coffee or tea in the morning like I do, then consider drinking a large glass of water in the morning even before you drink your coffee. Some physicians have considered caffeine a diuretic, but this claim has been debated. A report by the U.S. government’s Institute of Medicine concludes that coffee quenches thirst as effectively as water and does not deplete bodily fluids. Also, coffee reduces muscle fatigue and improves speed and endurance, so enjoying a cup of coffee before your workout may give you even more energy. It seems to have no negative effect on your hydration, and you can always have a glass of water first just to be sure.
Drinking water is imperative to a healthy life overall. So get in the habit of drinking water first thing in the morning and before, during and after workouts. If you have been suffering from headaches, fatigue or something similar, it is very possible that you are just not drinking enough water. If you prefer not to drink plain water, then make it fun and add a variety of fruits such as lemon, strawberries, or kiwi.
Have other thoughts on the importance of drinking water during workouts? Please leave in the comments section below.