Most people know in general that drinking water is good for you. Since our bodies are made of mostly water, good hydration is critical to maintaining healthy digestion, circulation, and even body temperature. In some respects, water is even more important than food. Humans can go without food for weeks, but can only go three days without water. But aside from the essential life functions it supports, water plays a pivotal role in fitness too.
- When you are dehydrated, even just a little bit, it leads to fatigue and actually makes your muscles weaker. This can make even your regular workouts seem more challenging and cause you to tire more quickly. If your hydration is off, even just by 1.5%, you’ll feel it.
- Water can help energize you for a workout even more than caffeine can. Studies have shown that the number one symptom of dehydration is fatigue. And nothing kills your motivation to work out more than that. So, if you’re feeling too tired to exercise reach for a bottle of water and give your body some time to absorb it. Chances are, a little re-hydration will give you the second wind you need to blast through your workout.
- Water also increases your flexibility. It serves to maintain healthy cartilage between your bones, to keep your joints moving smoothly and to protect your spine from injury. It is essential to keeping your muscles pliable and preventing stiffness. And, when your muscles don’t have the hydration they need they will actually shrivel. This all has an obvious effect on your ability to exercise.
- Here’s something you may not realize. Water affects your brain chemistry and becoming dehydrated can actually impair your coordination. So, if you’re finding it tough to balance or to keep up with moves in a group fitness class, your hydration level may have something to do with it.
- Drinking more water during the day can help you take in fewer calories which can make it easier to lose weight. Even though water has zero calories, drinking it can make you feel full. That’s why many recommend drinking 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal to help prevent overeating.
Historically, experts have recommended that adults consume 8 glasses (8 oz) of water a day. That may be a good guideline to follow but, the amount of water your body needs varies depending on several factors. Your height and weight, your gender, your activity level and your age among many other things will affect how much water you should have daily. It’s worth noting too that you can help your body stay hydrated by eating foods with a high water content like vegetables and fruits.