Don’t forget the body’s most important nutrient this summer…
Water makes more than 60% of our total body weight and it plays a big part in keeping us cool. As the heat ramps up makes sure your water intake does too. Extra water is essential not only to stabilise our core body temperature but also to ensure that our body functions efficiently by distributing water to help metabolize body fat, aid digestion, lubricate and cushion organs, transport nutrients, and flush out toxins from our body to keep us healthy.
Signs of dehydration:
- Dark coloured urine, urinating less
- Feeling dizzy or light headed
- Headache, tiredness
- Dry mouth, lips and eyes
- Loss of strength and stamina
How does hydration affect exercise?
When you exercise strenuously, you can lose a significant amount of fluid through excessive breathing and sweating, so it is important to replace fluid quickly so that your body can continue to function at its best. Some studies show that reducing water in the body by as little as 5% can result in as much as a 20-30% drop in your physical performance. If you are not getting enough water, your body will react by pulling it from other places, including your blood. This causes the closing of some smaller vessels (capillaries), making your blood thicker, more susceptible to clotting, and harder to pump through your system. The thicker your blood the harder it is for your body to transport oxygen to your muscles during exercise so the more fatigued you will feel. During endurance events, such as ultra running, where fuelling during competition is needed, glycogen maybe reduced being transported to the cells to be used as energy if insufficient water is not available to transport it.
How does hydration affect body fat?
Being hydrated allows water to efficiently contribute to energy storage along with glycogen. Keeping hydrated allows glucose to be quickly transported to the liver. The liver can then metabolize stored fat into energy. As you become dehydrated your kidneys, which are responsible for filtering toxins, wastes, ingested water, and salts out of the bloodstream cannot function properly, and the liver must work overtime to compensate. As a result, it metabolizes less fat. Also without water, extra amounts of glucose remain in the bloodstream until reaching the liver, the extra glucose is later stored as fat. Being in a state of de-hydration means your body will then resort to taking water from inside cells in an effort to compensate for a dehydrated state, including fat cells. Less water in your fat cells means less mobilization of fat for energy. So remember, if you are trying to decrease the amount of fat on your body – drink up!
How much water should you drink?
There is no one-size fits all here, it depends on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. The British Dietetic Association recommends that men drink 2000 ml, and women 1600 ml per day, this excludes caffeinated drinks and alcohol. If you are overweight or exercising you will need to consume more water. Your food intake will make up about a quarter of your daily water intake, sources such as fresh fruit and vegetables even chicken and pasta provide lots of water. Let your thirst be your body’s guide to hydration, and test your urine – clear and non-pongy!
How to test your hydration for exercise
To measure this loss simply take a reading of body weight before and after exercise. The difference in grams is the same as the amount of fluid lost in millilitres. If you have gained weight during exercise you have taken on too much fluid.
The dangers of drinking too much water!
Excessive fluid intake during exercise can lead to to a dangerous condition know as hyponatremia (abnormally low levels of the electrolyte sodium in the blood). Sodium helps regulate the amount of water that’s in and around your cells, so when sodium in your body becomes diluted your body’s water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to life-threatening.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Restlessness and irritability
- Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
Optimise your body’s hydration…
Book a Consultation and get a free Hydration Analysis, find out:
- How much water is in your body – Bio Impedence Analysis Test
- Your total water intake from food – Nutritional Analysis 3 day food diary
- How to improve sport performance by hydrating efficiently to prevent sodium loss