Many people neglect this basic fundamental requirement of the body and take for granted how important it is to stay hydrated.
Hydration is extremely important for normal bodily functions. Any decrease in hydration even by as little as 2% can have big implications on the body. (A.Bean 2009)
Water plays a huge role in the body as it
- Removes waste and harmful toxins
- Regulates body temperature
- Is a natural appetite suppressant
- Transports nutrients to muscles and organs
As we go about our day to day lives we are losing water all the time and as we exercise that fluid loss multiplies and dehydration can become an concern.
The majority of fluid loss from the body occurs through sweating. When we exercise, our body must keep our core temperature at around 37-38oC. If your core temperature rises too high, normal body functions are upset and this can eventually lead to heat stroke or stroke. (A.Bean 2009)
As previously stated, a 2% drop in hydration can lead to a 10% loss in aerobic capacity or performance and concentration lapses.
A drop of 5% in hydration levels can lead to 30% drop in performance, dizziness, laboured breathing weakness and confusion.
Why is this important?
Aside from the serious implications of vomiting, dizziness, weakness, confusion and in the most serious cases stroke, you are limiting your performance by 10% if you are only 2% dehydrated.
Whether you’re a serious athlete, general gym goer or trying to lose a few kilos, 10% is a huge drop in performance and concentration.
As an athlete this could mean that you make an unforced error in the closing stages of a game that have vital consequences.
It could mean that you don’t make your PB in a 5k race or that you can’t lift that extra few kgs in the gym.
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds dehydration could prevent you from giving 100% meaning you are not getting the full benefit out of your workout.
How do you know if you are dehydrated?
Most people don’t even realise that they are dehydrated. The best indicator of dehydration is urine colour. Concentrated, dark coloured urine is a clear indicator that you are dehydrated. Ideally your urine should be dilute and pale coloured.
Other symptoms include
- Dry mouth
- Feeling fatigued
- Feeling excessively hot
- Light headedness
- Easily aggravated
It is important to pay attention to your body and notice these signs before you become excessively dehydrated.
How do make sure I drink enough fluids?
As a general rule the average person should consume 35ml of water per kg of bodyweight on non-training days. On training days fluid intake should be increased to allow for loss of fluids during exercise.
If you struggle to consume enough fluids through the day try these tips to help increase your fluid intake.
Try keeping a bottle of water with you at all times and refill it as often as possible. Often we neglect to take water on board as it is not accessible. By having water to hand we eradicate that problem and are more likely to keep hydrated.
About 20 minutes before all meals try to consume a glass of water before you eat and also have a glass with your meal.
Have a glass of water before you go to bed and have one by the bed for when you wake up. This will make sure the body is hydrated during sleep and also will get you off to a good start in the morning.
In Summary if you stay hydrated you,
- Will be less likely to over eat as you feel fuller.
- Will be able to train harder and get the best out of you workouts and in turn burn more calories
- Feel more energised
- Be less likely to get distracted and aggravated throughout the day
Water is essential to keep the body performing at 100% and is a must for athletes and those of us just looking to keep in shape.
Make sure you stay hydrated and feel the benefits for yourself!