Why We Need to Hydrate

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Water – we all know it’s good for us and we’re probably aware of the health guidelines that encourage daily water intake. It’s easy to recognize the need to replenish our fluids after a hard, sweaty workout, but sometimes it isn’t as easy to make drinking water a priority after a Fluid Running workout. But, as Jennifer often reminds us, if you are feeling perspiration on your face, that’s happening all over your body, but you can’t feel it because the cool water whisks away the sweat from our bodies.  Additionally, you lose even more fluids when exercising vertically in the deep water due to the hydrostatic pressure on your body.  There’s a term for that called “Immersion Diuresis”.  This fact, along with an intense workout can cause significant fluid loss.  Just because you don’t feel sweaty in the water is no less reason to prioritize replenishment.  Why?  Because our bodies need those fluids to function properly and failing to replenish can cause significant problems.  Take a minute to read about the benefits of hydration that go far beyond what you might initially think. 

BENEFITS OF HYDRATION:

Increases physical performance during exercise.  According to the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, “ Monitoring hydration status before, during, and after exercise is essential for both performance and safety during physical activity.  Maintaining an appropriate level of hydration has been shown to increase performance (aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, strength, power), allows athletes to exercise at lower body temperatures and heart rates, improves cognitive function, and has been shown to enhance immunological function.” 

Increases energy levels, elevates mood, and improves memory and brain performance. According to the American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Journal, “Problems with cognitive performance that can occur with mild dehydration include poor concentration, increased reaction time, and short-term memory problems, as well as moodiness and anxiety. Water consumption affects cognitive performance in adults and adequate daily water intake is important for maintaining optimal cognitive function.”

Increases your ability to lose weight. According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, “50 overweight young women demonstrated that drinking an additional 16.9 ounces (500 mL) of water 3 times per day before meals for 8 weeks led to significant reductions in body weight and body fat compared with their pre-study measurements.”

Increases your ability to sleep.  According to the Sleep Foundation, “If you’re chronically dehydrated it can gradually reduce your levels of essential amino acids which are needed to produce melatonin, throwing off your circadian rhythm and making it harder for you to stay asleep.”

Makes you feel less fatigued. According to the Harvard Medical School, “Water is essential for carrying nutrients to your body’s cells and taking away waste products. Roughly 50% to 60% of your body weight is water, yet you constantly lose water through urine, sweat, and breathing. When you are low on fluids, your body may feel tired and weaker than usual. Consuming a sufficient amount of fluids in beverages and water-filled food (such as fruits, vegetables, and soup) will help replenish the water your body loses throughout the day and can help you maintain your energy.”

HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I DRINK?
You’ve probably heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s easy to remember, and it’s a reasonable goal.  If formulas aren’t necessarily your thing follow the simple rule of drinking enough water throughout the day so that your urine is light colored.  Try to make water the beverage of your choice.  If you need a little more inspiration, add some fresh fruit or cucumber to give it more flavor.  Hopefully knowing the benefits of staying hydrated will help inspire you to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.

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