We all know that drinking enough water and staying hydrated is beneficial to our health. But why?
The truth is, our body needs water to function optimally. From hydrating our skin to streamlining our digestion, drinking enough water is a must. Our bodies are made up of 60% water for a reason, and maintaining proper hydration is ultimately key to our survival.
Here, we're going over why hydration matters in fitness and recovery, as well as our top tips to stay hydrated.
Why Hydration Matters
In fitness, hydration matters a great deal. Hydration replenishes the water we lose in sweat during our workouts and fuels our muscles. It also reduces muscle cramping and helps to lubricate our joints.
Dehydration causes many negative symptoms like a lack of energy, headaches, and fatigue, which means we're less likely to exercise when dehydrated. When we don't drink enough water, your body will also start to confuse thirst with hunger, causing over-eating, plus your metabolism slows down, both of which matter a great deal to your overall fitness.
Staying hydrated also matters when it comes to recovery. The reason we get so tired when we're dehydrated is that our blood volume decreases. It means your heart is working harder to pump blood to the rest of your body and your muscles have less blood flow to use in muscle recovery.
Overall, if you want to improve both your fitness and muscle recovery, hydration is vital.
5 Tips to Stay Hydrated
Boost Hydration with Electrolytes
Certain nutrients help your body hydrate more quickly and stay hydrated for longer. Electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and magnesium are excellent hydration boosters and can be found in many sports drinks. Just look out for electrolyte beverages with too much sugar.
Coconut water is an exceptional alternative as it's naturally packed with electrolytes for more intense hydration, usually without any excess sugar.
Infuse Your Water
For some, it's challenging to drink enough water and stay hydrated because of its flavorlessness. Infusing your water with fruits and herbs is a fantastic way to make water that much more enjoyable.
Cucumbers, mint, raspberries or lemons are all great places to start when infusing water but feel free to get creative with it. You might also try sparkling water or seltzer water if you miss the fizz of soda, and herbal decaf tea is a winning choice for a natural boost of flavor.
Don't Have Too Much Coffee or Alcohol
Coffee and alcohol are both ok in small doses, but too much can leave us feeling even more dehydrated than we were to begin with.
Stick to only one cup of coffee per day and go easy on the happy hour drinks. Too much coffee or alcohol is bound to leave you chronically dehydrated, and your fitness will suffer.
Eat Hydrating Foods
You can also get your water fix from the foods you eat. Obvious choices are watermelon, cucumbers, and celery, but most fruits and vegetables are also secretly packed with water.
It's an easy and delicious way to make sure you're getting enough hydration.
Track Your Water Consumption
Finally, one of the best ways to drink more water is to track your water consumption. Treat it as a game with yourself to meet your water goal each day.
You might invest in the perfect water bottle that you're excited to bring around everywhere with you, and aim to finish three full bottles of water every day. Get your friends, family members, and coworkers to join in and make staying hydrated fun.
Are you struggling with your fitness routine? Not sure why you don't see results in the gym? You might just be dehydrated. Try out these tips for staying hydrated, and you might be surprised at how much of a difference it makes.