Staying Hydrated
Six Reasons to Drink More Water
by Jesse Seal

Staying Hydrated

Diet is always a hot topic in the fitness industry. The biggest problem with diets? Most people who think they're ready for them really aren't.

Let me explain. There are a few things people need to be eating or consuming on a regular basis before they should be worrying about an entire shift in diet. If they can't get these elementary things under control, their diet will fail. A couple of these dietary staples include a multivitamin and essential fatty acids, but the most important thing people don't consume enough of is water.

Did you know that the recommended eight glasses of water is now considered a "myth"? It is now recommended that we drink 8-12 glasses of fluid (any fluid) per day to stay properly hydrated. Of course, this is within reason. However, 8-12 glasses of your favorite soda or coffee obviously is counterproductive to staying hydrated.

Staying hydrated during exercise and throughout the day can change so many things in your body if you're not used to drinking enough water. Let’s look at some quick facts about proper hydration:

  1. Water will flush your body of toxins.
  2. Water helps you lose weight.
  3. Water is the body's primary nutrient transport system.
  4. Most daytime fatigue is caused by lack of water.
  5. Cartilage absorbs water, so staying hydrated can reduce joint pain and prevent joint related injury.
  6. Water helps with digestion and prevents constipation.

Reviewing this list in more detail:

FLUSHING TOXINS

When we fail to drink enough water, our kidneys also fail to work optimally. Our kidneys are responsible for filtering out the waste in our body. This waste will build up if our kidneys aren't able to get rid of it. If you're looking to be healthier and want to start losing weight, drinking water to flush out toxins is a good place to start.

LOSING WEIGHT

Speaking of losing weight, water also helps in the area, but probably not in any way you'd think of. Studies suggest that drinking cold water may raise your metabolism, but that's not what I'm talking about. Put a little more simply, drinking water replaces your thirst for other beverages which may be high in calories. Also consider the sugar and carbohydrates consumed, and the following insulin spikes that would ensue resulting in fat storage.

NUTRIENT TRANSPORT

Drinking enough water means that the nutrients you consume are more easily transported to areas of the body that need them most. Imagine your body is an army, and it needs supplies (nutrients) in order to operate. What happens to an army if supplies aren't delivered because there aren't enough trucks? The army is weakened and inferior, just like your body is without proper hydration.

BRAIN FUNCTION AND ENERGY

Do you ever feel sluggish during the afternoon? That's because the primary cause of daytime fatigue is mild dehydration. There are a number of reasons, including the above fact regarding water as the primary transportation of nutrients. Another reason is that fact that the brain needs water to function optimally. Not only will your brain function properly and make you more cognitive and focused, but proper hydration has been shown to relieve headaches.

JOINT PAIN AND INJURY PREVENTION

The cartilage in our body, specifically our back, absorbs water and expands. This phenomenon offers our joints more cushion when they experience impact, which happens during athletic activities and heavy resistance training. When it comes to our back, there are cartilage discs between each vertebra. It is especially important when lifting something heavy (like during a deadlift) that you hydrate before any heavy loading.

DIGESTION

Finally, proper hydration helps with digestion. Of course, this is important to everyone, but it is especially important for anyone on a high protein diet. Consuming lots of protein without sufficient amounts of water may cause constipation.

The recommended amount of 8-12 glasses of water is a standard, but doesn't apply strictly to everyone. Many additional factors must be considered, such as weight, height, body surface area, activity level, and more.

Given the numerous benefits of staying hydrated, it's vitally important that we remember to drink enough fluids throughout the day, especially on training days.


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About the Author

Jesse Seal is the assistance Combatives Instructor, and has been training in Combative Sciences since 2008. He has also been training and learning through Bullock's Irondom Performance Systems since 2010.

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