As the weather warms up and we become more active with our outside activities, little rhetorical reminders can sometimes be a nice thing. Even as I write this, I’m kicking myself in the butt for not diligently following my own advice that I’m always preaching. Something as simple as taking in enough water seems so easy, but it somehow seems to allude us, me included! That said, here is your reminder…
Bar none, water is one of the most essential components of the human body. Water regulates the body’s temperature, cushions and protects vital organs, and aids the digestive system. Water not only composes 75 percent of all muscle tissue and about 10 percent of fatty tissue, it also acts within each cell to transport nutrients and helps the body discard waste. Due to the fact that water composes more than half of our body, it is impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it. This is pretty important stuff to say the least, which is why we at Dialed Cycling Lab would like to share a few solid points, facts and tips!
For those engaged in a fitness regimen, maintaining a consistent supply of water to the body is absolutely necessary to your performance. Dehydration leads to muscle fatigue, loss of coordination and decreased energy levels. Even small amounts of water loss may throw a wrench in our overall performance. When the body becomes dehydrated, it is unable properly thermoregulate (cool itself efficiently), leading to heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke… no bueno! Without proper intake of water, the body will lack energy, muscles may develop cramps and we will begin to lose focus. To prevent dehydration, you MUST drink proper fluids before, during and after your workout.
Hydration and Athletic Performance
Hydration is absolutely essential to maximize athletic performance. When you do not drink or consume proper fluid levels to stay appropriately hydrated, your check fluid lights come on and it could be too late to keep your performance optimized for competition during your event. Inadequate hydration, as we have already stated, will fatigue your muscles, reduce your coordination and causes muscle cramps. While working out or competing in athletics, dehydration will compromise your body’s ability to cool itself through sweating (that thermoregulation thing again!). This can lead to heat exhaustion and in extreme cases it can end up as a life-threatening condition called heat stroke.
Hydration and Weight Loss – Quick tip!
This is a great tip for those of us looking to drop a few pounds or if you simply want to maintain your chiseled physique! Drink part of your daily recommended water before your meals to control your appetite. This tip comes to us from a study done by researchers from Virginia Tech and reported at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Drinking 16 oz. of water before meals three times a day over a 12-week period increased average weight loss by about 5 lbs., compared with those who did not increase water intake. Researchers could not definitively say what caused the additional weight loss but they speculate that it fills up the stomach thus making you feel fuller. How easy is that?!!
Some Hydration Considerations
There are certain health conditions that increase the amount of water we are required to consume in order to stay properly hydrated. If you have kidney stones, a bladder infection, have been vomiting or have diarrhea, your doctor may recommend that you increase your water consumption. If you are exercising (inside or outside), especially during hot weather, this will also require more water to stay properly hydrated due to increased perspiration and respiration. Looking at the color of your urine is another way to know if you are properly hydrated. Light yellow or colorless urine typically indicates proper hydration, but dark yellow urine is a common indicator of dehydration. Yep, toilet check time!
You need to hydrate before the signs of thirst appear, which is you body saying that you are already dehydrated. On that note, it is recommended that you follow these tips:
- Drink 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before the start of exercise.
- Drink 8 ounces of fluid 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise or during warm-up.
- Drink 7-10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink an additional 8 ounces of fluid within 30 minutes after exercising.
- Drink 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
Stay hydrated, my friends, and go ride your bike!