Many people use water breaks as an excuse to catch their breath during their workout, but water is so much more than just an excuse to rest. As a matter of fact, many professional athletes and workout experts say that water is the most underrated step towards becoming a great athlete! So, here’s how proper hydration helps boost performance.
Dehydration will set you back in your training
As soon as you start neglecting your water needs, dehydration starts. It first creates a feeling of fatigue and confusion, but later it can manifest itself in the shape of muscle cramps and serious illnesses! All of these will stop you from achieving your best results. One very easy way to check whether you’re hydrated enough is to conduct the urine colour test. If your pee is pale yellow like lemonade, you’re good, but if it’s dark yellow like apple juice, you need to drink more water.
Hydration prevents heat illnesses
Good hydration also helps prevent heat illnesses by providing your body with a way to cool itself. The signs of a heat illness start with cramps that cause painful muscle spasms in all parts of the body, continue with unusual exhaustion that can leave you feeling faint and nauseated and can potentially end with a heatstroke! Heatstroke is the most serious of all three symptoms and it involves high body temperature, skin redness, fast breath and heartbeat and even loss of consciousness and heat seizures. So, it’s not even necessary to say that these heat-related illnesses will prevent you from improving, achieving desired results and even cause you to stop training for a while!
It regulates blood pressure
Good hydration helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels during the workout and the recovery period. High blood pressure, elevated heartbeat and too much stress increase the chances of inflammations and other illnesses that can ruin your progress and mess with your recovery.
Hydration helps transport nutrients
A proper diet is also very important for good athletic performance since you need carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals to produce energy. However, these nutrients are all transported by fluids, which is why proper hydration is so important. Also, fluids help flush out toxins and metabolic waste created during gruelling exercise.
How much is enough?
No organism is the same, so there are no strict rules on the amount of water you should take while working out. It all depends on how much you sweat, the temperature and humidity of your environment and the intensity of your training. However, experts advise drinking about one litre before your workout, one cup during the workout (little by little) and one cup right after you finish your training. That’s why you always have to have your practical water bottle with you every time you work out. Also, make sure your bottle is big enough to help you achieve your daily water intake, but not too big so that it overtakes your whole bag—2 litres should be enough for one workout session!
Do sports drinks count?
Water is usually all that you need to stay hydrated and healthy, but people with very intense and long workouts might need something extra. Sports drinks usually contain some calories, potassium and other useful nutrients that will give you energy and improve your recovery period. However, avoid sports drinks that contain added sugar or have a lot of sodium. Also, some sports drinks contain caffeine that can disrupt your sleep, cause heartburn and even make you desperate for a toilet! You don’t need any of these side-effects during your workout.
As you can see, proper hydration reduces stress caused by exercising, makes you more energized, shortens your recovery period and improves your athletic performance. So, always have your faithful water bottle at hand and use it often before, during and after your workout!