Hydration status is vitally important to both athletic performance and general health. The human body is made up of as much as 75% water, and even a 1 or 2 % decrease off of baseline hydration status can significantly impair performance.
Hydration is involved in numerous physiological processes such as:
- Transportation of chemicals to and from cells
- Cell hydration
- Maintenance of body temperature
- Elimination of toxins
- Aids in metabolic and digestive processes
- Moisturizes and protects joints
In athletic endeavors this becomes even more important as water is rapidly lost through perspiration. This often leads to athletes exercising in a dehydrated state.
The main reasons dehydration has as adverse affect on exercise can be summarized as follows:
- Decrease in blood volume
- Decreased skin blood flow
- Decrease heat dissipation
- Increase core temperature
- Decreased sweat rate
- Increase Muscular
These affects of dehydration lead to decreases in performance through decreased cardiac output and increased fatigue.
Here are some tips to stay hydrated:
- Avoid alcohol and/or keep it at a minimum, especially while physically active
- Drink 20 oz of water immediately upon waking up
- Drink 20 oz of water 1 hour before exercise
- Continuously refuel with water and or/sports drinks if an endurance athlete during physical activity. The carbohydrates and salts will help water transportation into cells.
- Keep water at your desk or wherever you spend the majority of your day.
- Eat foods with a high water content such as fruits and vegetables; these go a long way in maintaining hydration!
- Drink water before you are thirsty, the thirst mechanism doesn’t kick in until a low-moderate stay of dehydration. Stay ahead of the game!
An appropriate hydration strategy will maximize workout performance while simultaneously reducing health risks and maximizing recovery.