The power of H2O
Many people underestimate the importance of water. Water, like oxygen, is essential for life and performs many important roles throughout the human body, including:
- Transporting glucose and oxygen into your muscles.
- Serving as a critical component of your brain, blood, muscles, and bones.
- Aiding digestion of food, helping to convert it to energy you can use.
- Removing metabolic byproducts like carbon dioxide from your hard-working muscles.
- Regulating body temperature, especially during your workouts, when your muscles generate 20 times more heat energy than a body at rest.
Even with all of its benefits, drinking water and staying hydrated is one of the most overlooked components in fitness, which can have a significant effect on performance. Anyone, from runners to lifters, can become dehydrated if fluid loss is greater than fluid intake. It's as simple as that. And dehydration can lead to reduced performance, headaches, fatigue, and muscle cramps.
The Easiest Way to Prevent Dehydration
Follow these simple guidelines to ensure you're properly hydrated for your workout:
- 2 to 3 hours before your workout, consume 2-3 cups of fluid; it doesn't have to be just water! While water is a great choice, you can also sip juice, milk, or some BCAAs.
- During exercise, try to drink about one cup of fluids every 20 minutes or so. If you're a heavy sweater, you may want to opt for a drink with a higher electrolyte concentration.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of water at one time. This can actually slow down the digestion and absorption of fluids, leaving you with a gut full of fluids.
To read more about the importance of hydration, make sure to check out "Everything You Need To Know About Hydration."
* Ratings as of article's date of publication