Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Are You Drinking Enough Water for Optimal Fitness?

Drinking enough water sounds easy but many people struggle with water intake.

Sixty percent of your body is made up of water and needs continual hydration to function at optimal levels. That said, water is considered the most essential nutrient to consume for health and fitness.

Drink Water for Fitness Success 

Are you drinking enough water? Are you always thirsty? Are you sweating during workouts and not replenishing? What color is your pee? These are just a few things to consider about your water intake.

Without adequate hydration, your body is unable to function properly. Drinking water helps maintain fluid levels, regulate body temperature, and prevent your heart rate from getting too high.

This is especially important during your workouts since you're losing fluids through sweat and increased breathing rate. You should drink water before, during, and after physical training. Drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise is often recommended.

Avoid Dehydration

Unfortunately, many of you come to your workout and even perform workouts dehydrated. Common adverse effects may include:
  • A headache
  • Dark urine and not peeing very much
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy, lethargic
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Rapid breathing

Drink Plenty of Water to Reach Your Fitness Goals

Drinking plenty of water is vital to reaching and maintaining your fitness goals. Other beverages like coffee, tea, and other fluids may provide some fluid benefit, but shouldn't be used as a water replacement.

Water is an essential nutrient working in and around the cells of your body to maintain fluid balance and help with the production of energy and protein. When you drink plenty of water, you're doing more than just quenching your thirst. You are helping your body function right so that you can reach your fitness goals. The following is a shortlist of the benefits provided when you stay hydrated:
  • Calorie control - drinking plenty of water helps you feel full and consume fewer calories. Foods with high water content, like celery, slow the digestive process allowing you to feel full longer.
  • Muscle function - muscle cells require water to function properly. You feel energized and pumped when the muscles contain the right amount of fluid.
  • Detox - staying hydrated helps flush toxins from your body. This helps with weight loss, proper PH, and reduced inflammation.
  • Brainpower - water provides energy to the cells including your brain. This helps promote greater thinking and improved reflexes. Effective workouts require you to be on top of your mental game.
  • Reduced illness - water helps maintain a strong immune system and reduces congestion. Stay well-hydrated to avoid illness and stay on your fitness program. 

How Much Should I Drink?

Water intake will differ per person, mostly based on age, physical activity level, and other medical conditions. The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) recommends a general guideline of 91 ounces (11 cups) of water daily for women and 125 ounces (15 cups) for men. Keep in mind this includes water from all food and beverages consumed daily, not just water. The majority of healthy adults can meet their daily fluid requirements by letting thirst be their guide according to NAM. 

The best recommendation is listening to your body and drinking water when you feel thirsty. The problem remains that many individuals ignore these body cues and go without the proper fluid intake.

Make it a goal moving forward to drink plenty of water. This means you will listen to thirst cues, drink when thirsty, and maintain light yellow to clear urine. Helpful hints to increase your water intake include:
  • Always have a water bottle nearby.
  • Add flavor to your water (muddled herbs, sliced citrus).
  • Track your water intake (journal or phone app).
  • Drink a glass of water before you eat. 
  • Drink water at the temperature you like.
The important thing is to drink enough for optimal body function, health, and hitting those goals!

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