Around 60% of the body is made up of water—a fluid crucial to maintaining kidney and body health. With hot summer days upon us, the body loses a lot of water from sweating—whether you’re out at the beach or working out at the gym—so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. We all know that it’s important to drink water throughout the day, but how hydrated are we really, and why is it important? Kimberly Slider from Hybrid Personal Training (MMA & Fitness) outlines the benefits of staying hydrated.
Hydration, training and your immune system
Oftentimes, the importance of adequate hydration is overlooked. Hydration is when the body absorbs the fluids that we drink and our cells and organs become hydrated. So why is being hydrated so important? Well for starters, our bodies are made up of about 60% water and our lungs are about 80% water. Being hydrated allows our body to function properly—every single cell, tissue and organ in our body requires water to function and survive.
The role of water
- Water is the main property of blood, which transports oxygen and nutrients to our cells throughout the body.
- Water helps to flush waste out of our body, thus making it super important for our body’s detoxification process. Flushing out waste is crucial to keep our health and immune system up.
- Water protects and cushions our vital organs such as the kidney, liver, lungs, heart and stomach.
- Water regulates body temperature
- Water lubricates your joints and prevents our muscles from cramping, thus reducing the risk of injury
On top of that, your hydration levels affect your productivity, mood, performance, recovery and optimal function. In an environment like Hong Kong, especially during the summer when it is hot and humid, hydration is critical to regulating body temperature and preventing heat stress.
When we train, it is important to replenish the fluids that we lose through sweat
- Loss of sweat equivalent to 2% of body weight can result in a noticeable decrease of physical and mental performance.
- In training, a fluid loss of 5% of body weight or more results in a 30% decrease in work and performance capacity.
- Joint lubrication and muscular hydration are also essential to better recovery. Our muscles are roughly 76% of water.
- When we are not properly hydrated, we might experience more muscle soreness and stiffness.
- Skeletal muscle fatigue is also caused by a decrease in the body’s pH levels.
- Dehydration also increases cortisol – a hormone that is released by the body when it is stressed.
When it comes to immune function, which is super important especially with the current situation regarding the coronavirus, we need our body to be able to flush out waste and toxins. When our bodies cannot detox, waste and toxins are stored in our fat cells which then increases cell inflammation, hormonal imbalances and gut microbiome imbalances thus bringing down our immune system. Dehydration may also result in poor blood flow which means the transport of oxygen and nutrients around our body through our blood is affected which also decreases immune function, especially if there is no flow of oxygen to the brain. When our brains are not able to detoxify itself, it becomes harmful. Our brains can only detox if there is adequate oxygen being transported to it and water is required for this to happen.
What are some signs that I might be dehydrated?
- Your urine might be dark in color and low urine volume
- Constantly feeling thirsty
- Dry mouth
- Constant fatigue and sleepiness
- Your skin might be dry
- The tongue might appear white in color
Tips on how to improve hydration
- Aim to drink at least 3.5liters of water a day
- Go for mineral or spring water instead of distilled water
- Sprinkle some Himalayan Pink Salt in your water. This helps ensure that the body absorbs the water
- After a training/workout session, make sure you replenish what you’ve lost. Dropping an electrolyte tab into your water helps with this
- Keep a water bottle with you – Chances are you are more likely to drink water throughout the day if you have a water bottle with you
- Drink before you feel thirsty
- Drink about 250ml – 300ml of water every hour
- Eat plenty of vegetables
If you are interested in learning more about improving your health and fitness, contact Hybrid MMA at [email protected].