The importance of good hydration is well established. Below are nine key areas positively affected by optimal hydration, this really is the cheapest win when it comes to nutrition, however, it is widely reported that upwards of 70% adults fail to consume the appropriate level of water and are chronically dehydrated and therefore exhibiting sub-standard day-to-day and sporting performance.
How much is right for me??
Your weight in kg x 0.033litres gives you your daily requirement. Additionally, for very 20 minutes of sweat producing exercise, you can add 130-250ml to this total.
For example, I weigh 95kg, using this equation my daily requirement is 3.15litres. I’ll then add on 1/4 litre for each 20 minutes of sweat producing exercise I complete.
Another important consideration for well functioning muscle contraction and concentration is the maintenance of mineral balance within our body water. It is our recommendation that when you switch to a real food diet as we advocate that you ingest between 1 teaspoon to 1.5 teaspoons each day of high quality rock or sea salt. The caveat being, if you are still eating processed foods daily, do not add additional salt.
9 Great Reasons to Stay Hydrated
When we are well hydrated, our brain cells receive fresh, oxygen-laden blood, keeping it alert. Mild dehydration, such as 1% – 2% loss in body weight, can affect concentration. Loss of more than 2% body weight due to dehydration can affect the brain’s processing abilities and impair short-term memory.
Good hydration helps carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients and oxygen reach cells, which then produce energy for the body to function. Hydration also facilitates disposal of the waste products of metabolism, promoting correct cellular chemical function.
3 Digestive tract
Hydration is crucial to food digestion and the absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract. Water dissolves nutrients so they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to cells. Insufficient hydration slows the digestive process and chronic poor hydration can lead to constipation and toxic build-ups.
Water supports heart function and helps keep blood pressure within healthy range. Dehydration decreases cardiac output. This can lead to increased heart rate and low blood pressure.
Water keeps the kidneys working well, helping them remove waste and excess nutrients, mainly via urine. Kidneys regulate the body’s water levels by increasing or decreasing the flow of urine. They control normal levels of sodium and other electrolytes. A well-hydrated, healthy person’s kidneys filter some 180 litres of water every day. Most of this is reabsorbed to prevent excessive losses from the body.
6 Muscles and Joints
Water acts as a lubricant for muscles and joints. It helps cushion joints and keeps muscles working properly. Without our muscles, we’d be unable to stand, sit, move or carry out daily activities – let alone train! Approximately 70% to 75% of muscle is water. Correct water balance is essential for optimum muscle function.
The phenomenom we call “stretch” or lengthening is a function not of the collagen fibers in fascia lengthening, but of the fibers sliding along each other on the glue of large, water-absorbing proteins called glycoaminoglycans (GAGs). Take the water out of the GAGs and the result is tissue that is mightily reluctant is stretch.
The less fascia is hydrated, the less elastic response it has in it. From an injury risk and performance perspective we want less plastic, more elastic.
Many people believe good hydration helps to moisten body tissues and preserve skin elasticity, softness and colouring. This has not been fully researched.
9 Body temperature
Water is an important thermoregulator. It helps to maintain body temperature by dissipating heat via sweat. Note however, that water drunk while training will do wonders for your performance, but will not cool your body down. You need to pour it over your head and neck to reduce your temperature.
Download: Hydration [pdf]