Hydration is a very important aspect to physical fitness and performance. The human body is made of about 60-80% water so it is important to make sure that you replenish those fluids you lose from respiration, sweating, and using the restroom. Proper hydration can aid in the following:
- Brain function
- Kidney function
- Ensures healthy metabolism
- Digestion function
- Circulation of oxygen in the blood stream
- Lubricates joints
- Ensures proper muscle function
- Reduce joint inflammation and muscle soreness
Water plays a key role in every metabolic pathway in the human body. It helps maintain the core temperature and keeps your body from overheating. This will help your endurance and allow you to sustain physical activity for longer periods of time.
When you lack the proper amount of water intake, you will become dehydrated and this will affect your performance and overall health. This is due to a decreased flow of oxygen in the bloodstream, and will lead to fatigue. You will have an increase of toxins in your cells. Dehydration will also slow down your metabolism, which will make it more difficult to lose weight.
Dehydration increases physiologic strain and perceived effort to perform exercise and daily tasks. When you are dehydrated, you may experience feelings of dizziness, light-headedness, headaches, dry-mouth, overheating, constipation, cramping, muscle strains, muscle soreness, joint inflammation, and fatigue. This makes it difficult to function and accomplish daily tasks, let alone perform at a high level when training.
In order to ensure that you are maintaining the proper levels of hydration, you should be consuming 75% in oz. of your body weight in pounds. For example, if you are 200 lbs., you should consume 150 oz. of water throughout the day (200x.75=150).
Daily consumption should be balanced and paced throughout the day. Do not drink more than 4 x 8 oz. of water in an hour. Drink before and after meals rather than during. Water can wash away digestive enzymes, which help to break down food.
Reduce the amount of soda, caffeine, and alcohol as they can dehydrate your body. When you are hydrating, you should add some sort of electrolyte source to help with water retention. This can come from a food source or supplement. Foods that can help with electrolyte balance include sweet potatoes, bananas, and green leafy vegetables. Electrolytes allow for electrical charges that are essential to many functions throughout the body.
An easy way to test if you are hydrated is by using the following hydration assessment tool:
- Weight loss
- Urine color
Read More Staying Hydrated? Perform a Urine Test
If your body weight is noticeably lower from one day to the next (3% or more of body weight), you may be dehydrated. Other implications of dehydration are: your urine is dark yellow or you are thirsty. If you are experiencing two or more of the symptoms, it is very likely that you are dehydrated. Proper hydration will go a long way in keeping you healthy and performing to the best of your abilities in the gym. When you are hydrated, it will positively affect every aspect of your life. You will feel better, perform better, and as a result, look better.