Benefits of drinking water
Get into shape
with Simon Gama
WATER is essential for all energy production in the body. Water is also used for temperature regulation and waste elimination and is essential to cell processes. An inadequate supply of water can result in up to a 30 percent reduction in energy.
Between 50 percent and 70 percent of the body weight is water. Insufficient water in the body results in the body decreasing in blood volume thereby reducing the overall oxygen transport ability of the blood to properly supply the muscles during exercise. Since blood is used to regulate body temperature inadequate cooling of the body occurs.
The heart rate increases as the cardiovascular system is stressed and overheating occurs leading to possible heart stroke or heat exhaustion. We can survive without other nutrients for several weeks.
However, we can only survive without water for about one week. Water is used to emulsify solutions within the body and transport them to the various tissues including the transport of waste by-products.
Thirst is not an accurate measure of the body’s water requirement. Age and environment alter the thirst mechanism. Therefore a quantitative schedule must be utilised to adequately hydrate the body. Two hours prior to exercising in a hot environment the participant should consume 2-3 cups of water and another 1-2 cups about 15 minutes before exercising. During exercise about 4 ounces of water should be consumed every 15 minutes to replace water lost through sweating. While exercising drink two glasses of water. A loss of only 2 percent of body weight through sweating can bring on the onset of dehydration. Adults should drink about 2-and -a-half quarts of water per day.
Early signs of dehydration include dizziness, fatigue, headache and loss of appetite. Advanced dehydration is manifested by rapid pulse, shortness of breath, deep yellow urine, blurred vision and hearing loss.
Cold water is absorbed into the body from the stomach faster than warm water. Recent studies suggest that drinks containing up to 10% sugar are almost as readily absorbed from the stomach. These sugary drinks have been shown to improve endurance in events lasting 2 to 3 hours. However, for fat burning purposes, consumption of sugary drinks will provide carbohydrate energy to the exercising muscles and possibly starve off fat metabolism for use as energy.
Therefore if your intent is performance then consume sports drinks. However, if the purposes of the exercise session is to burn fat then drink water only.
The glycogen stored in the muscles will run out in about 20 minutes and the body will be found to metabolise stored fat for continued energy. Consumption of salt in excess of recommended dietary requirements draws water out of the cells, thereby impairing cellular function.
Salt depletion may occur during endurance type exercises and when consuming water only. Salt tablets are not recommended because they draw water out of the body and into the stomach.
In cold weather, urine production is increased therefore it is just as important to properly hydrate in cold weather environments as it is in hot weather.
10 reasons why you should drink water: If you don’t drink water you will die, to prevent cancer, be less cranky, perform better, loss weight, have less joint pain, flush out waste and bacteria, prevent headaches, make your skin grow, feed your body.
The writer, Simon Gama is a fitness coach at Body Works Gym in Bulawayo.