The human body is composed of 60% water. Everything from your blood, to your lungs, to your brain is mostly water. It makes sense, then, that water is such an important resource for our survival. Humans can survive weeks without food, but only a few days without water. And proper hydration is especially important when working out, as all of the excess energy burns causes your body to spend its water supply. Most of us know that drinking alcohol is bad for your workout, but can you say you know how much water you should be consuming?
How To Stay Hydrated
We should be drinking water all throughout the day. Experts recommend 2 litres of water daily, but the last thing that anyone needs is more plastic water bottles strewn across the ocean. Plus, since gyms typically have water fountains in or around them, it’s important that you bring along a durable and reusable bottle to refill. Having a reusable water bottle with you ensures that you’ll have a refillable supply of water to stay hydrated.
You’re losing water constantly through your sweat as you’re working out. While 2 litres is the recommended daily amount, that fails to take exercise into consideration. If you’re planning a workout, it’s suggested that you drink 20 ounces about two hours prior to your exercise and 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during. Bring your water bottle with you to the gym and remember to drink from it every so often for an optimal workout experience — you can even set alarms or reminders on your phone to ensure you don’t forget.
What If You’re Dehydrated?
While working out with dehydration is possible, it isn’t recommended. Your body’s cells need water to create energy, the same energy that you’re using to lift weights or run. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll have a harder time getting the energy you need to power through your routine. This can be detrimental to your health in the long run. The harder you workout, the more water you should drink to balance out your body’s supplies.
Water regulates everything from your temperature to your heart. Working out while dehydrated makes your heart work harder to pump due to a lack of liquid, and sweat will also be in short supply. Sweat is our body’s way to naturally cool our body, but it needs a sufficient amount of water to do so. It’s also important to remember that dehydration can lead to more serious problems if not checked. Not getting enough water can lead to seizures, fatigue, dizziness, or confusion. In addition, children, older adults, and those with chronic illnesses are more susceptible to dehydration.
Of course, it is possible to overhydrate as well, but it’s very rare in most cases. Only endurance athletes who train for hours at a time are particularly at risk. Drinking too much water without replenishing your electrolytes can lead to your body flooding in a process called Hyponatremia. But again, it is very rare and should only be a concern if you’re an endurance athlete.
The importance of staying hydrated while working out can’t be exaggerated. Water is a vital source of energy for us, more vital for our health than even food. Our bodies are about 60% water and should remain around that level. Be sure to monitor your water intake when working out for the best possible exercise you can get and to stay healthy.