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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Fecteau

Why Water is Important during Physical Activity

Updated: Mar 28, 2019

The human body is made up of approximately 60% water. We need it to survive. In fact, we can go for much longer without food than we can water.

Drinking enough liquid throughout the day is essential. As an athlete, your need for water is a bit different than the average Joe and that is why proper hydration is critical during physical activity.

Hydration and Physical Activity

What’s the Fuss about H20?

Water is important for our cells, organs and tissues such as muscles. It helps regulate body temperature so the body doesn’t overheat as well as aid in food digestion.

Why hydration is important during physical activity

The body loses water through breathing, sweating and digesting, so it’s important to constantly replenish these levels throughout the day or serious side-effects may occur.

The appropriate amount of water consumption for everyone varies. It depends on the amount of physical activity, age, body fat, gender, altitude/ weather, and medications for each individual.

Importance of Water During Exercise

The body’s ability to perform can dramatically decline when it’s dehydrated. Trainers assert that losing just 2% of body fluid can decrease performance up to a whopping 25%!

If incremental water breaks aren’t adhered by and the body finds itself “thirsty”, this is a sign that dehydration has already set in.

Improper hydration can affect the balance of electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are minerals and compounds we obtain from what we eat and drink. They help produce energy and aid in muscle contraction (exercising). Some examples of electrolytes are: sodium, chloride, potassium, phosphate, magnesium and calcium.

Electrolytes in physical activity

Here is a quick go-to plan for staying hydrated throughout your workout

PREWORKOUT: (2-3 hours before) drink 17-20 oz. of water

WARMUP: (20-30 min. before core training) drink 8 oz. of water

DURING WORKOUT: (every 15 -20 min. of intense training) drink 7-10 oz. of water

POST WORKOUT: (30 min. after exercising) drink 8 oz. of water

*If exercising more than an hour, drink an electrolyte dense substitute to replenish excess mineral loss and regulate blood sugar.

Dangers of Dehydration

When the body doesn’t consume as much water as necessary and dehydration sets in, some serious side effects can take place. Dizziness, muscle cramps and spasms, lethargy, or loss of consciousness and even death are all possibilities. Children, elderly and the ill are more prone to dehydration.

dehydration and physical activity

Benefits of Proper Hydration

Proper hydration lends its hand to the athlete feeling stronger and less fatigued. It will lead to a more effective training session and one that can even last longer.

The heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood to the body which will aid in keeping heart rates at a manageable level. Muscles will be well nourished and hydrated so cramping will be a thing of the past.

Affecting stamina, endurance, muscles and clarity, hydration is just as important as putting that gi on before your training session. Incorporate water and isotonic (sports drinks) into your daily workout routine, then, get out there and give it all you’ve got!

Source: Web MD

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