Exercise and Water (Proper Hydration)

Back in highschool I used to do weight-lifting. As in the olympic event you see on television where big guys and gals are pulling great barbells of weight off the ground and over thier heads. I was pretty good at it, but always found it hard to put on weight, and could never really progress in the sport. In any case, one thing that my coach always used to push me to do was to come to training well hydrated. Drink plenty before, during and after. He told me to weigh myself before and after exercise to calculate how much I need to drink while training. He told me to drink at least 2 cups of water a good hour or so before exercising. I always noticed that when I was properly hydrated, I always felt more energetic and stronger.

While your body is working hard, you are losing water to sweating and breathing and soon enough you begin to feel thirsty. You need to sweat to keep your body cool and you need to breathe to get enough oxygen. But you loose water to both.  Loosing too much water can dehydrate you (even a loss of 2 percent water is considered dehydration) and affect your performance negatively. Drinking a small bit of water every 15mins or so during a workout is a good way to keep your fluids up. Additionally, if you are exercising for a good hour or so, you will properly need to replace lost electrolytes (salts). A sports drink is okay, but fruit juice is just as good. 

Keep hydrated during exercise and you keep your body performing at its best. 

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The Science of Water

Well I thought I’d kick this off with a little basic science first. We all know we need to drink water, need to stay hydrated, especially on a hot sunny day, or need to ‘replenish our fluids’ (I’m a bit of an Office fan so I had to throw that in). But I wanted to get into the actual science of it. I think if we have a basic understanding of whats going on in our bodies, we can better appreciate what a simple thing like drinking water can do for us. It also helps you to feel like your doing something great for your body, even if you can’t feel it having a direct effect. It feels healthy! 

Okay, lets get down to it. 

Our bodies are made of up to 50 to 70% water. Its in permeates every each of our bodies, from the cells, to organs to bones and muscle. Everything depends on it. Our body however, cannot retain water and so we need fresh supplies everyday. One of the most important water functions is maintaining the integrity and health of every cell. All of the cells functions are carried out with the presence of water as a vessel. It dissolves nutrients and oxygen, carrying it in our blood to our cells which can then absorb these nutrients by way of osmosis. Osmosis is basically the need for substances dissolved in water to move around (across membranes, in this case the membranes or walls of the cells) and equalize so that an equal amount of the substance exists on both sides of the membrane. This is how our cells get their nutrients. But it is also how they dispel of wastes. Its the same process. It also helps the cell to keep its shape and rigidity. A lack of water means a lack of efficient cell function. It becomes sluggish, and nutrients and wastes don’t move as quickly. It can become poisonous if cells aren’t able to rid themselves of waste. Water is essential for their function! 

Well that’s it for now, I could go much further (there is so much research out there), but I’d thought I’d leave it at that. Next time you take a glass of water, think about your cells and how much happier they are with plenty of water to get nutrients and expel wastes!