As our bodies are composed of more than 70% water, it should come as no surprise that we need to maintain an adequate level of hydration to keep many of our systems operating properly. Drinking plenty of fluids helps our bodies remove waste, controls our body temperature and helps us keep a balanced and healthy level of blood pressure. In fact, if the levels of water in our bodies drop as little as 3 or 4%, we will already begin suffering the first stages of dehydration. Indeed, as this article illustrates, water is absolutely essential for maintaining a normal, healthy lifestyle. Now, if consider those who maintain active fitness programs, the importance of water becomes even more profound.
The Fuel our Bodies Require
When we undertake a stringent fitness regimen, our bodies will require greater amounts of fuel to adapt to these activities. Activities such as running, bicycling, weight training and endurance sports will all deplete the body of liquids and electrolytes much faster than during a sedentary lifestyle. Levels of salt and potassium need to be kept in constant homeostasis, lest we begin to feel effects such as dizziness, fatigue, palpitations and we may possibly even become prone to heat stroke. Thus, drinking adequate amounts of water are absolutely necessary to avoid these situations. A few more important facts regarding water consumption can be found here.
For younger people and students, this is even more of a priority, as these metabolisms tend to be naturally faster than middle-aged men and women. One of the tricks with maintaining adequate hydration is that it should be a constant process. In fact, there are many specialists that state that once we begin to feel immensely thirsty, we have already entered into the first stages of dehydration. This is the reason that drinking a constant supply of water from a bottle, water fountain or water cooler is the best way to help guarantee that sufficient levels are constantly maintained.
Benefits to the Muscles and Joints
It is also important for athletes to remember that water will increase the hydrostatic pressure within joints. Simply stated, this water will act as a “cushion” when performing activities such as running. This helps protect cartilage from damage. Also, adequately hydrated muscles are less prone to cramping and during post-workout cool downs and stretching, as the muscles are unlikely to become strained or pulled. Finally, drinking plenty of water after a workout can actually reduce the amount of subsequent soreness and provide a restful night’s sleep.
So, it is clear to see that above all other nutrients, water is the most essential in anyone’s fitness program. Thankfully, many institutions will provide water fountains and water coolers to guarantee a constant, fresh supply of this vital and irreplaceable fuel.
This post was written by Dane Michael of Fitness Fan