Hydration is something I never really think about or take too seriously. It’s not rocket science, if I’m thirsty I’ll grab some water, problem solved. But, it turns out there's a lot more to it than that.
Well, after moving to Arizona in the middle of the summer, I know how backwards that sounds, I have realized how important hydration is and what a major role it plays on a day to day basis. Goodbye are the days where I could head to the golf course looking forward to a couple beers or cocktails and make it through the round. After my first round I had realized I went through about six water bottles and never stopped to go to the bathroom. It’s was so hot I couldn’t sweat it out fast enough. This got me thinking, “I’m an active guy, and have never thought twice about how much water I drink. Maybe I should start thinking about trying to drink more water.”
Most people have heard that the human body is made up of 50-70 percent water, but hardly anyone seems to make sure they drink enough of it. How crazy is that? We don’t think about the one thing we’re physiologically made up of. I bet if humans were made up of half ice cream everyone would make sure to keep up with their daily suggested amounts.
How Much Water Do You Need?Well when it comes to hydration there are multiple options from sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, coffee, and so on, but I will just stick to the simplest, best choice, WATER. Like me, most people just drink when they’re thirsty. While this isn’t a bad thing, thirst is a signal we’re already under hydrated. Hydration is individual for everyone based on weight and other genetic dispositions. A common amount of water most people think per day is 8 cups, while this may not be “wrong” you may need more or less. The common system based on bodyweight is to drink .5 to 1 ounce of water per pound of bodyweight. This is also dependent on climate, activity level, and other personal factors. While generally the more hydrated the better there are cases where too much hydration has adverse effects, so make sure to bring it up to your doctor for personalized figures.
Athletics and HydrationAs a former athlete and someone who is still active and trains on a weekly basis I want to get the most out of my efforts whether I’m looking for strength, muscle, endurance gains or simply weight loss. This is why hydration and water consumption is so important to an effective workout. Performance is hindered at mild stages of dehydration at around two percent dehydration and greatest drop off at around five percent. This drop in performance is most notable endurance activities. While strength can be lowered for one or two rep maxes it is affected most when activities involve larger amounts of repetition and endurance. Also, for those looking to gain muscle hydration is key. As muscle is made up of about 79 percent water being dehydrated can result in a longer time to build muscle.
Workout Hydration BaselineSuggested hydration in the course of activity can be different, but this can be a baseline to start to find out what works best for your body.
- Drink 14 to 20 ounces of water 2 hours before a workout.
- Drink another 5 to 10 ounces 30 minutes beforehand.
- Drink 8 or so ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.
Importance for EveryoneHydration isn’t just important for active people or during a workout. Sitting in the sun on a hot or humid day, even without exercising, can make your body to need more fluids. Also, individuals who have a heart condition, are older than 50 or overweight may also have to take extra precautions. With so much of the human body being made up of water it is even more important for those who already have issues to make sure their bodies have sufficient hydration. And even for those who are completely healthy minor underhydration and dehydration can lead to headaches, lack of focus, and even constipation.
In short, dehydration has many negatives while sufficient hydration is something most people can achieve with relative ease and mindfulness. So, take a second to assess your current hydration, pick up a refillable water bottle, and stay hydrated and crush your goals!