It’s a well-known fact that the body needs water to survive and thrive. After all, it keeps organs and tissues healthy, delivers oxygen to the entire body and flushes the toxins out.
In this way, it keeps the kidneys and bladder healthy, not to mention that it’s one of the most powerful forces behind healthy digestion and keeping blood pressure and heart rate at an optimal level.
Yes, water is an absolute necessity as a large portion of the human body is made of it. So, what have we been doing recently, especially in the midst of the latest craze we hope doesn’t ever fade away – health and fitness – we do our best to stay hydrated at all times.
Some medical experts claim that eight glasses a day is enough for the average person, while others claim that the sufficient amount is variable and highly dependent on the individual’s needs as well as their lifestyle, climate they live in and numerous other factors.
Today we will explore the needs of those who are diligent in their pursuit of health and fitness, those who exercise regularly and inevitably strain their muscles while breaking a good sweat.
Why is extra hydration paramount for them and why in the post work period, in particular, is exactly what we’ll unveil today.
Pre and during
The main reason hydration is essential during the course of a workout session (as well as before one) is simple – people who exercise lose a great deal more liquid than those who are physically inactive. This kind of loss calls for H20 reimbursement, which is exactly why medical experts pointed out that the right water intake is individual. So, before and during your next gruelling session on the treadmill, make sure you’re all set because you will sweat it out.
This brings us here
You see, regardless of how much water one drinks, it’s inevitable they will lose a great portion of it during a workout, and this particularly applies to those who truly push themselves, whether they’re serious athletes or simply people who are immensely committed to achieving and maintaining their fitness goals. The first reason your body craves water after you’re done exercising is fairly straightforward – your muscles and kidneys are 79% water.
This means that, while exercise naturally results in stronger muscles, it does so by first breaking them down and then rebuilding them.
This process is called protein synthesis and you may or may not be aware of this, but this process needs muscles to be well hydrated in order to occur properly. Needless to say, if they aren’t, the process is slower than it should be, meaning that your post-workout recovery time will be longer and you’ll live with sore muscles for longer than you care to.
So just to make sure you drink up, it might be a good idea to keep a handy and stylish 2 litre water bottle in your eyesight as it will serve as a great reminder during those times you become oblivious of the fact that it’s time for numerous big sips; obliviousness is a crime we’re all guilty of, but that’s no reason for the muscles to suffer.
The energy booster
As invigorating and energy-boosting as exercise is, if you don’t drink up afterwards, your energy levels are bound to plummet and the sense of exhaustion will catch up with you. You see, when the body experiences dehydration, the blood volume decreases.
This, in turn, forces your heart to pump harder in order to get the blood to every single part of the body, all of which are counting on their dose of oxygen and invaluable nutrients.
The subsequent sense of exhaustion and fatigue can greatly affect your motivation to ‘get back on the horse’ as you will associate exercise with this negative feeling, even though exercise itself is not the culprit, so don’t sabotage yourself and strain your heart – drink up.
In every case
After all, you’ve lost plenty of calories, especially if it was a gruelling sweaty session, so you will eat as much as your trainer has assessed your body needs in order to refuel and bring back glycogen, which is essential to muscle recovery. As said in the intro, water is essential for good digestion, which is yet another reason to grab your bottle or fill up your glass so everything in your digestive tract remains in spick and span shape.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published the results and methods of their extensive study which revolved around the importance of hydration in athletic performance. Needless to say, their findings confirmed that the role of hydration in the post-workout recovery process is immense. Among other methods and experiments, there was a particular one in which individuals were placed on treadmills for an excruciating 90-minute run.
However, they were divided into two categories – those who drank a sports drink during and after the workout and those who did nothing in the hydration department at all. The conclusion of the experiment is perhaps already evident, but we’ll state it anyway – those who kept their hydration levels high showed significantly faster heart rate recovery in the post-workout period, which is a clear indicator that their bodies were able to recuperate from the exercise much faster.
Finally, bear in mind that summertime can be even more strenuous, as you continue to sweat long after the workout is done, and the level of perspiration is even higher during the summer sweltering heat, so as much water as you would drink on regular basis, add another glass or two during summertime. Stay healthy, stay strong.