When it comes to cornerstones for effective health and fitness, nutrition isn't thing you'll put into the body to keep it functional, it's that good ol' H2O.
The role that water and there-in proper hydration, plays within your training and life is probably one of the most misunderstood and underhyped aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Today we are going to look at the role hydration takes in your health and wellness routine, we will explore the impact of water intake on performance recover and well-being, along with warning signs and how to keep hydrated.
The Crucial Role of Hydration:
In today's day and age, people seem to know that hydration plays a CRUCIAL role in keeping you alive and functioning. The body can go well over a week without food, but only 3 days without that all important clear liquid.
However what a lot of people don't understand is all the 'caps' that water wears within your body.
Here's just a smattering of what your body depends on water for:
Water helps maintain the body's proper fluid balance which is VITAL for different functions that keep you alive.
When you have a good fluid balance your body will have great circulation of blood, it will digest food properly within the gut, and the temperature of your body will be well regulated (even if you are a bit cold blooded.
If you are looking to maximize your physical performance in the gym, not lose any endurance and even enhance how your brain processes information, you are going to need water.
Even a slight case of dehydration can really impair your progress in the gym, so keep hydrated... homie.
Another part of optimal performance is how well your muscles, joints and ligaments function. Water is essential to ensure that your muscles are contracting properly and it also keeps your joints lubricated, which reduces the risk of injury.
Water Intake for Workouts:
Water intake while you are training is terribly important. A dry person makes for a 'brittle' muscle, which in turn allows for the increased risk of injury when performing movements in the gym.
While we can't tell you how much water to drink since the AMOUNT of water you may need depends on the person, we can help you stay hydrated with these water intake tips.
Before you hit the gym, you have to make sure that water intake is adequate. This helps maintain your blood volume, which ensures oxygen and nutrients reaches your muscles efficiently.
Timing on this is also something to take into account. You are not wanting to slam a gallon of water 20 minutes before walking into the gym. Not only will you feel sluggish, your body won't have time to process it properly, which means it will do you no good. Try to keep your water intake up throughout the day and keep it consistent.
While you are training, it is important to sip water regularly to prevent dehydration of muscles and enhance endurance, especially during prolonged or intense training sessions.
People regularly bicker back and forth about how much water is needed while you are actively training, but the truth of the matter is, it depends.
According to the American Council on Exercise drinking 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during training will carry you a long ways. In simple terms, you may be drinking a cup.
Your average gym bro however, will say keep a flask near you at all times.
Our advice is to sip when you feel thirsty and don't overindulge to the point you become a water balloon.
If you've been paying attention to what we've been saying, you'll know that replenishing water is important. If you were properly hydrated pre and intra-training, you shouldn't need to worry TO much about drinking after.
Keep drinking water though to support recovery and bring your electrolytes back into balance
Dr. Lisa Roberts, a sports nutritionist, underscores hydration's significance: "Hydration isn't just about thirst; it's about optimizing physiological function. Adequate water intake directly influences exercise outcomes."
Signs of Dehydration:
You're now thirsty, or at least thirsty for more info on hydration, so what are the signs to tell if you need to increase your water intake for the day to stay happy and healthy.
Remember, if you see or feel any of these, it is important to get hydrated properly and make sure you monitor how you feel. If there is no improvement, it is important to consult a medical professional and keep yourself alive.
First and foremost, if you are feeling thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. This can be a feeling anywhere from dry lips, parched throat or even cotton mouth.
This is probably one of the most crucial early warning signs that you need to start drinking water and putting them electrolytes into your system.
Another early warning sign is a darkening of the urine, which means that the waste leaving your body is being concentrated into a smaller volume of water.
While this may not be an immediate concern, especially if you are having an increase in vitamin intake, it is important to note that the darker it is, the bigger the red flag... usually.
If you drink enough water, your pee should be clear or just off clear.
Fatigue and Dizziness:
The final sign we want to mention is fatigue and dizziness. This can appear rapidly, but is a really not great sign, for anything.
When you feel dizzy, you may also experience a reduction in cognitive function along with trouble staying coordinated.
If you experience this or any other symptoms, put down the soda, pick up the water, and drink. If the problem doesn't right itself quickly, we recommend reaching out to a medical professional
Strategies for Staying Hydrated:
With the ability to ID if you are dehydrated, how are you going to make sure that you keep your body running, gunning and more?
Here are a few tried and true strategies for staying hydrated in and out of the gym. Remember, keep it fun and tasty no matter what you do.
Monitor Fluid Intake:
If you want to monitor your water intake, it is important to set 'intake goals' and figure out how to hit them.
One of the easiest ways is to have a consistent cup or bottle that you try and drink X amount of. That way you are able to try and consume water in manageable sizes?
If you are training for a longer period of time or the temperature is hotter we highly recommend that you add electrolytes to maintain fluid balance in your body.
This can be done with either a sports drink, like Gatorade or Powerade, or you can add sodium and potassium packets to your water. Keeps you hydrated and it adds a little bit of flavor.
Listen to Your Body:
The most important aspect of maintaining balance though is listening to what your body says and how it acts. Adjusting your water intake based around activity levels, climate and other circumstances is the way to go.
Hydration is one of the irreplaceable factors that is within your fitness journey. Prioritizing water intake throughout your day will help maximize your performance in the gym, enhance your recover, and let you achieve your fitness goals.
By understanding how hydration and exercise interplay with each other, you will equip yourself with another powerful tool for a successful and fulfilling lifestyle that includes health and wellness.