I’m sure everyone has heard that drinking water is important, but you may not be aware of all the reasons that staying hydrated is crucial for your performance in the gym, as well as for how you feel, and how your body functions outside of the gym.
Hydration is critical for athletic performance because with as little as 2 to 3 percent decrease in body weight from water loss (from sweat, respiration, etc.), performance begins to decline. And with a loss of 5 percent, you may start to experience headaches, muscle cramps, and even heatstroke, nausea, and vomiting. The thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t take long to become dehydrated while you’re working out. You could easily reach these levels of dehydration in just an hour, and much quicker if you start your workout not properly hydrated.
You should prepare for your workout by going in already well-hydrated, and then maintain hydration throughout. Drinking water is key, but alone may not be enough to replace what you’ve lost, especially during an intense session. This is why an intra-workout product with electrolytes, to facilitate proper hydration, is super important.
Water helps muscles and joints operate at a more efficient level. When you're well-hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients, while removing waste efficiently so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints and helping to avoid injury.
Another vital aspect of hydration is the regulation of core body temperature and heart rate. Dehydration causes strain on your heart. When you are dehydrated the amount of blood circulating through your body decreases, causing your heart to beat faster and your heart rate to rise. Staying hydrated enables your heart to pump blood more easily, allowing the muscles in your body to work harder.
But it’s not just important to stay hydrated in the gym. Hydration impacts all of our bodies’ systems and can affect how we feel every day.
Hydration: Not Just for the Gym Goer
First, proper hydration positively impacts your productivity. It can promote good mental health by cushioning the brain, spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, which in turn has a positive impact on overall cognitive function. Studies have shown that proper hydration can result in clearer thinking, increased energy, a higher level of alertness and improved mood.
Our digestive system also depends on being well-hydrated. The bowel needs water to work properly. Dehydration can lead to gut problems, constipation and an overly acidic stomach, which will increase heartburn and ulcers. Staying hydrated improves the removal of waste in our body and allows minerals and nutrients to be better absorbed into our digestive tract. This can improve kidney health, lowering the risk of kidney stones and other issues.
There has been so much research done on hydration, showing additional benefits such as skin health and appearance, stronger immune systems, healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and more. My advice to you… drink more water!