Water- why is it so important?
When you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. Your body is 60% water so it is not surprising that you need to replenish these stores regularly! The feeling of thirst is your brain telling you that it is already depleted of fluids and the cell balance is off.
Here is your body’s water breakdown:
Brain 75% water
Blood 92% water
Lungs 83% water
Skin 64% water
Bones 30% water
Muscles 75% water
For each of these organs to function optimally they require adequate hydration at all times. For example, brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various other elements to function properly, and when water levels are depleted the brain cells cannot function efficiently. Dehydration impairs concentration, focus, short-term memory, reaction time, and muscle function. The easy solution is to intake regular water throughout the day.
General guidelines suggest that males need 3 litres of water per day and females 2.5 litres per day. This is approximately 8 glasses of water.
In exercise, a drop as little as 2% body weight through sweating is enough to drop your blood volume. The heart as to work harder to circulate the blood, and it will prioritise the organs under demand at that time. This then leads to fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, and even heat stroke if the body is overheating.
During exercise you should never just drink when you are thirsty, but take small, regular intakes to remain hydrated throughout. Your throat should not become dry, because a dry throat suggests dehydration and the small mucous cells that line your airways will then become dry. These cells will then collate mucous and harbour infection, and prevent the natural clearance of bacteria. A healthy athlete needs healthy airways!
This applies to any exercise however, not just athletes! Any physical activity that gets your heart going, temperature up, body moving, should be supplied with the fuel it needs to function at a higher level than normal!
TASK: Find a water bottle and fill it right up. Sit it on your desk at work, worktop at home, wherever you are through the day and make sure that you drink the equivalent of 8 glasses/2-3 litres per day.