Water is vital to life. A few days without it could lead to death – it’s that important. So considering a hydration strategy, particularly when working out in the heat is vital to overall health. We lose water through respiration, sweating in addition to urinary and fecal output. Exercise speeds up the rate of water loss making extreme exercise, especially in the heat, a chance of leading to cramping, dizziness and heat exhaustion or heat stroke if sufficient fluid intake is not met. Correct fluid intake is a significant priority for exercisers and non-exercisers in the heat. Water makes up 60% of our bodies. So it is incredibly important to for many distinct roles in the body.
The Role of Hydration In The Body:
Water has many important jobs. From a solvent to a mineral source, water plays a part in in several distinct functions. Here are some of water’s important jobs:
– Water acts as a solvent or a liquid that can dissolve other solids, liquids and gases. It can carry and transport these things in many of ways. Two of water’s main roles are the fact that water transports nutrients to cells and carries waste products from cells.
– In the presence of water, chemical reactions may proceed when they may be impossible otherwise. Because of this, water acts as a catalyst to accelerate enzymatic interactions with other chemicals.
– Drink because water acts as a lubricant! That means that water helps lubricate joints and acts as a shock absorber for the eyes and spinal cord.
Don’t be afraid to sweat! It will help regulate your body temperature. As sweat stays on the skin, it begins to evaporate that reduces the body temperature.
– Did you know that water has minerals? Drinking water is important as a source of magnesium and calcium. When drinking water is processed, pollutants are removed and lime or limestone is used to re-mineralize the water adding the calcium and magnesium to the water. Because re-mineralization varies depending on the location of the quarry, the mineral content can also vary.
Which Factors Determine How Much Water We Want:
What factors affect how much water we want? All of the following help determine how much water we need to take in.
Climate – Warmer climates may increase water needs by an additional 500 mL (2 cups) of water daily.
Physical activity demands – More or more intense exercise will require more water – based on how much exercise is performed, water demands could double.
How much we’ve sweated – The quantity of perspiration may increase water requirements.
Body size – Larger people will probably need more water and smaller people will need less.
Thirst – Also a sign of when we are in need of water. Contrary to popular believe that if we are hungry we need water, thirst is not usually perceived until 1-2% of bodyweight is lost. At that stage, exercise performance decreases and mental focus and clarity may drop off.
We all know why water is important but how can we go about hydrating correctly? Fluid balance or proper hydration resembles energy balance (food intake vs output). It’s important to avoid fluid imbalance for health.
We get water not only through the beverages we eat but also through some of the food we eat. Fruits and vegetables in their raw form have the maximum percentage of water. Cooked or”wet” carbohydrates like rice, lentils and legumes have a reasonable quantity of water where fats such as nuts, seeds and oils are extremely low in water content.
Fluid Needs By Bodyweight:
One of the easiest way to determine how much water you need is by body weight. This could be the basic amount you need daily . *Yes, you’ll need to find a metric converter like this one to do the math.
Water Requires: 30 – 40 mL of water per 1 kg of bodyweight
Example: if you weigh 50 kg (110 lb), you would need 1.5 L – 2 L of water per day.
The body can only absorb a certain amount of water at a time. Any overzealous drinking could lead to health issues.
Thirst – As stated above, if you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
Colorless to slightly yellowish – hydrated
Soft yellow – hydrated
pale gold – hydrated
gold, dark gold or light brown – possible mild to moderate dehydration
brown – dehydrated
Hydration + Electrolyte Strategy:
These easy steps will enable you to hydrate daily and before and after workouts.
1. Ascertain how much water you will need to consume on a daily basis with the body weight formula above.
2. Pre-hydration – Drinking about two cups of water BEFORE intense exercise ensures adequate hydration to start.
3. During Exercise – 1 cup (8 ounces) of water mixed with electrolytes (about 3/4 water to 1/4 electrolyte) every 15 minutes approximately.
4. After Exercise – Fluid intake must assist in recovery. Recovering with a mix of water, protein and carbohydrates is a great idea in addition to electrolytes if needed.