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Nutrition & Fitness

How Drinking Water Can Improve Your Physical Performance

athletes drinking water

Athletes, professional athletes, or just leisure walkers all need adequate hydration to perform well. However, depending on the intensity of your efforts, you might need more water than you think. It would be best if you stay adequately hydrated during and after working out, no matter your age or whether you're playing soccer or working out at the gym.

Maintaining blood volume, controlling temperature, and maintaining muscular activity require water for our bodies. When exercising, sweating enables the body to remove excess heat. The body maintains its optimum temperature by evaporating sweat beads as they form on the skin. The body loses fluids when it sweats, so you need to replenish them. Therefore, you need a certain amount of water to keep your body hydrated.

Dehydration Impairs Athletic Performance

During exercise, we lose a lot of fluid due to sweat. When you don't replenish your fluid levels, your risk of heat-related illness increases, your muscle function declines, and your athletic performance declines. When the body loses just 2-3% of its fluids, performance begins to decline. You can experience a decline in your mental and physical capacity if you are dehydrated. A dehydrated body can present with increased core temperature, lower blood pressure, higher heart rate, headache, fatigue, and muscle cramps.

In hot and humid conditions, the risk of dehydration increases. As a result of the humidity, your body has a more challenging time cooling itself through sweat. You will need more fluids if your body is unable to maintain its correct temperature.

Maintaining Your Race Weight Is Easier If You Drink More Water

You can actually lose excess body fat while drinking water, despite its seemingly unlikely effect. You can boost your metabolic rate and become more satiated with it. Water consumption can result in an increase in energy expenditure of up to 96 kcal per day if you drink 2 liters a day.

If you want to maximize the benefits of your water intake, you have to both drink enough and time it correctly. It is advised to drink water half an hour before meals, since this way it will not interfere with digestion, but will make you feel full and you will eat a little less.

Consuming cold water can also improve health because it requires extra energy to heat the fluid to body temperature.

How to Prevent Dehydration

It is impossible to train your body to fight dehydration, even though some athletes like to learn how to deal with adverse circumstances. The best way to stay hydrated during physical activity is to drink more fluids and eat foods with high water content.

It will be helpful for you to start hydrating the night before you plan to engage in strenuous activity or exercise in heat and humidity. Then, while participating in the activity, drink plenty of fluids. After the activity, drink more fluids again.

Following are hydration recommendations for athletes from the American Council on Exercise:

How To Consume

When To Consume

2-2.5 Cups

at least 2 hours before you exercise

1 Cup

at least 20 minutes before exercise or during warming up

0.5-1 Cup

approximately every 10 to 30 minutes while exercising

1 Cup

at most 30 minutes after exercising

How To Estimate Fluid Loss

Knowing how much your body sweats is the best way to stay hydrated. You can use this to determine how much fluid you need to replace. It is possible to determine your sweat rate with the help of a sports dietitian or by measuring it yourself.

  1. Before beginning to exercise, weigh yourself.
  2. Exercise according to your usual routine.
  3. Wear the same clothes as your last weigh-in and towel off any sweat after exercising. Weigh yourself immediately after you have finished.
  4. After exercising, calculate how much you gained or lost. It tells you how much fluid must be replaced after it is lost.

How Do I Choose the Best Fluid to Drink?

If you're unsure which water or sports drink is right for optimal performance, there are countless options available. For short, low-intensity workouts, sports drinks can be useful to replace ions lost through sweating, but plain water is fine as well. If you are drinking water, make sure it is safe, quality drinking water.

Testing your water is easy, and you can learn what's in it instantly with the help of easy-to-use tests. They can be used on bottled water, tap water, and well water. Test the water first before you take a drink from the pristine stream when you are out in nature.

In Conclusion

A lack of adequate water can have a negative impact on virtually every aspect of sports performance. The benefits of staying hydrated include improved physical performance and reduced risks of injury, as well as improved movement, recovery and agility, thermoregulation, and increased mental clarity.

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