What is it about hydration that has got personal trainers, yogis, health coaches and sports team managers questioning, ‘how much water do I need to drink?’
Firstly, DEHYDRATION. What is it?
Defined as; “a harmful reduction in the amount of water in the body.”
Harmful being the key word to listen to here. As dehydration gets worse, so does the harmful effect it has on the body.
One of the first facts I learnt about dehydration was about sports performance in my A-level Physical Education (PE) studies – yes, I did PE for A-level…
A review of research conducted into dehydration in sports performance found that losing just 2% of your body weight in fluids could significantly reduce measurable aspects of performance such as fatigue, endurance and mental focus.
This is because roughly 65-70% of your body is water, and the majority of that is in your blood. If your blood thickens, as it does when you get dehydrated, oxygen will be transported around the body more slowly. Therefore, the delivery of oxygen needed to contract muscles and help the brain to make decisions is delayed. Given that athletes can sweat out 6% to 10% of their body weight during competition, you can begin to understand why the importance of rehydrating/hydrating cannot be overemphasised.
Furthermore, when you are dehydrated, the body is forced to draw water from the intestines and bowels, this causes constipation. It also forces the liver to help the kidneys remove waste as they will not have enough water to do this job themseves. Normally the liver’s function is to metabolize stored fat. However, when the liver has to help the kidneys function, fat metabolism will not be completed and this contributes to fat storage.
Finally, water is a natural appetite suppressant. Cravings are often misinterpreted as food cravings, when they are really thirst cravings. If you are not drinking enough water over an extended period of time your thirst mechanism shuts down, especially as you grow older. As you increase your regular water intake this thirst signal reactivates and lets you know the difference between a water and a food craving.
Drinking more water will prove to be the simplest, least expensive, most powerful and longest lasting key to long-term fat reduction, better sports performance and optimum functioning of your organs.