We all know staying hydrated is important. Not just for athletes, but for everyone. So how important is drinking the ideal amount of fluids every day? And how can it effect our athletic performance?
Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: To regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
Roughly 3.7 litres of fluids a day for men
Roughly 2.7 litres of fluids a day for women.
This includes fluids from beverages like tea & juice. You also get on average 20% of fluids through the food we eat (depending on your diet).
Of course there are numerous factors that you need to take into account.
If you drink a lot of caffeinated drinks then you will lose water via extra urination.
Temperature and humidity have a lot to do with how much you sweat and if you’ll need to drink extra fluid.
Your health. If you have an infection or a fever, or if you lose fluids through vomiting or diarrhoea, you will need to drink more water. If you have a health condition like diabetes you will also need more water. Some medications like diuretics can also make you lose water.
Why is it important to drink during exercise?
Around 60% of your body is water and it plays a vital role in every bodily function. You can lose a lot of fluid when you exercise – up too 2 litres an hour, mainly through sweating and breathing.
If you don’t replace this fluid, you become dehydrated. This can affect both your general health and how well you can exercise. If you’re dehydrated you’ll fatigue more quickly and you won’t be able to control your temperature as well as usual. Your core temperature can rise & your heart has to work harder than usual. All things that you do not want when you’re trying to put maximum effort into your sport/ exercise/ workout.
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals found in your blood that help regulate and control the balance of fluids in the body. These minerals play a role in regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction and keep your system functioning properly.
Key Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium.
The right amount of electrolytes in your body is needed for optimal health and physical performance.
If you lose a significant amount of these minerals (either by intense exercise, sweating, vomiting or diarrhoea), you’re going to experience dehydration and feel pretty lousy. You might also experience muscle cramping and spasms.
In simple, drink your recommended daily fluids, and whilst working out & competing, or if it’s a hot day try adding some electrolytes into the mix. Your body will thank you!
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