Sure, drinking water can help us feel good, but did you know it can help improve performance and prevent injury too? Drinking plenty of water is vital to living both a healthy life and optimizing our bodies for healthier results. If food is our fuel, then water is the oil that makes our bodies run properly.
Regular hydration can help prevent muscle cramps, sprains and strains because of the chemical makeup of water. Water contains electrolytes, or substances, that help conduct electric current in the body to help it function properly during exercise and everyday activity. As you exercise, sodium and potassium in particular are important electrolytes to maintain in your body, as they easily deplete through perspiration. Other common electrolytes to consider when exercising are chloride and bicarbonate.
But when should we hydrate? The answer is, all the time! But when it comes to exercise, we can take a bit more of a scientific approach. Make an effort to consciously hydrate two hours prior to exercising, aiming for approximately 7-10 oz. While exercising, drinking 6-12 oz. every 10-20 minutes will help maintain adequate electrolyte levels. After the workout, continue to hydrate to allow your body to regulate back to an equilibrium state.
Water is the number one way to prevent dehydration. There are many sports drinks and ways to increase electrolytes through drops and powders, but they are not necessary unless you are partaking in intense, sustained physical activity. More specifically, eating well in conjunction with drinking plenty of water will be enough for most peoples’ exercise regimens, reducing the need for electrolyte boosted beverages.
Proper hydration will increase endurance and performance, help to combat fatigue throughout the day, and keep your body running smoothly, just like a well-oiled machine. So always drink your water!