Did you know that approximately 60 percent of your body is composed of water? Every single cell in your body requires water to function at full capacity. Mind blowing, right? Whether you are an experienced or novice athlete or you have never worked out before, staying hydrated throughout the day (and especially during your workout) is insanely important. Humans can only survive for a few days without water, compared to food, which we can survive without for a much longer period of time.

What’s Up With Water?

Water keeps our joints lubricated, eliminates toxins in our skin, aids in proper digestion, protects delicate tissues, regulates our internal temperature and so much more. Immediately, it becomes very obvious what a vital role water plays in our ability to function throughout the day. You lose lots of water through sweat when you are working out, which is why this is a crucial time to stay hydrated. Sports drinks will replenish electrolytes and some water, but straight H2O is the absolute best way to ensure your hydration. Throughout the day, your body is constantly losing water, even when you are not participating in rigorous workouts—even breathing causes water loss. This is why drinking water, constantly, is so important!

Benefits of drinking more water:

  • Reduced joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Improved overall mood
  • Clearer skin
  • Increased energy
  • Headache prevention

Dehydration

When you are dehydrated, you have loss too much water without replenishing it, and your bodily systems are not functioning at full capacity. If you are dehydrated you may feel light-headed, weak, tired and even hungry. In fact, it’s very common for people to mistake their thirst for hunger. This is why it is smart to drink a glass of water before a meal. You may find that the glass of water totally “hit the spot” and that you were not actually hungry at all. Or, you might discover the water was thirst quenching but your belly still wants real food. You win either way, though, because you are drinking more water!

There is lag time between when your body needs more water and when your body finally notifies you that you are thirsty. In this sense, you have actually been dehydrated for longer than you know. Hurry, drink water! When you are dehydrated, a number of negative things are taking place in your body, including major issues with your blood and circulation. Your blood becomes thicker and more concentrated, making it difficult for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. Your heart is strong, though, and will compensate by raising your heart rate. This is why you risk exhaustion or fainting when you exercise while dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dark colored urine
  • Irritability
  • Dry skin

Staying Hydrated

If you are constantly feeling sluggish and irritable, log your water consumption habits for a week. You will probably be surprised with how little water you are drinking. You have probably heard that drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water  throughout the day is adequate when it comes to staying hydrated. According to a study done by the Institute of Medicine, women ages 19 and older should consume an average of 2.7 liters of water per day, while men in the same age group should consume 3.7 liters of water per day. These numbers, of course, vary from person to person depending on activity level, body composition and other factors. Also, take into consideration the water we consume through the food we eat and other beverages we enjoy during the day.

Let’s recap and break that down. Your parents told you to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which totals 64 ounces. According to the above study, women need 2.7 liters of water per day, which is approximately 91 ounces. And men need 3.7 liters, which equals 125 ounces! As you can see, the old standard for water consumption is between 30-60 ounces less than what doctors now recommend! And again, this number varies depending on the person.

Tips for upping water intake:

  • Carry a water bottle with you for easy access
  • Add flavor to your water to improve the taste
  • Order water instead of soda or tea
  • Drink a glass of water before every meal

At Twisted Cycle, we care about helping you take strides towards an all-around healthy lifestyle. If you’re interested in learning more about the services we provide, including indoor cycling and cross-training courses, give us a call or stop by today! We’ll also make sure you are staying properly hydrated during your best workout ever!