Something we are asked on a regular basis at GHF is how much should we drink. It is a common theme among new clients to be dehydrated when they first join.
This is often flagged up during the dreaded weigh-in, where the accuracy of our body composition scales is dependant on the clients hydration. If they are dehydrated the results when measuring Body Fat % is greatly affected.
Whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain weight you cannot underestimate its importance. Dehydration is not something your body can adapt to – it WILL affect you physically and mentally.
We’ve combined a selection of research to show you why hydration should be your number 1 goal.
Main Benefits of being hydrated
- Endocrine gland function improves
These glands control all hormones in the body, affecting your mood, metabolism, tissue function and more.
- Fluid retention is alleviated
Fluid retention can cause you to feel bloated, have swollen body parts and increase your weight. Being well hydrated can help prevent this.
- Liver function improves
This increases the amount of fat your body burns when it needs energy.
- Metabolic function improves
Metabolism is the process of using, transporting and removing nutrients in the body. It is essential for your health that your metabolism works as well as possible.
- Nutrients are distributed throughout the body
Good digestion relies on water. Your food needs to be digested properly in order for you to gain the full benefits from the nutrients.
- Body temperature is regulated
Your body needs to be hydrated in order to cool itself down during exercise through sweating. If you’re too dehydrated, your ability to exercise will be impaired.
- Water lubricates your joints
Water provides protection in your joints and spinal cord by providing cushioning.
Some Effects of Dehydration
- Decreased blood volume
Your body needs to counter-act this fall in volume with a fall in blood pressure. This can make you dizzy, and means your heart rate needs to increase.
- Sodium retention
You kidneys hold onto more salt instead of excreting it, which will result in fluid retention in your tissues causing swelling and bloating.
- Increased perceived exertion
When you’re dehydrated, exercise will seem much harder. You may think you’re working harder than normal, and become mentally drained and struggle to focus.
- Fluid retention
When you’re dehydrated, your body stores fluid as a survival mechanism. As contradictory as it sounds, being dehydrated will increase fluid retention.
- Increased use of muscle glycogen
This means your body uses more of its energy stores, and will find it harder to recover from workouts.
How Much Water should I drink?
- Males: an average of 3 litres per day
- Females: An average of 2.2 litres per day
- If exercising for more than 60 minutes, experts recommend drinking an isotonic sports drink to replace lost electrolytes
- If exercising for less than 60 minutes, drinking water is sufficient
- You should aim to drink 400-700mls of water 2 hours before exercise
- Aim to drink 200-300mls of water for every 15 minutes of exercise you take part in (that’s almost a litre extra if you do ONE of our classes!)
Keeping your hydration levels topped up is one of the best things you can do for your health and fitness goals.
You might find you have to go to the toilet more often at first, but your body will adapt to this if you keep your water intake consistently high!
Hopefully the points above speak for themselves and you can see just how important hydration is – EVERY day, not just workout days!
The Team at Good Health and Fitness