Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The fluid of life- Water

Water is the most important resource for the body. You can survive weeks without food, but only days without water. Keeping hydrated can be a challenge and dehydration can have a huge negative impact on your fitness performance.

On average, an individual should drink approximately 96 ounces (3 quarts) of water a day. Those looking to alter their body composition and decrease body fat should drink an additional 8 ounces of water for every 25 pounds they carry above their ideal weight. Water intake should be increased if an individual is exercising briskly or living in a hot climate.

Studies have shown that a fluid loss of even two percent of body weight will affect circulatory functions and decrease performance levels. The effects of dehydration can also include:
  • decreased blood volume
  • decreased blood pressure
  • decreased sweat rate
  • increased core temperature
  • water retention
  • increased heart rate
  • sodium retention
  • decreased cardiac output
  • decreased blood flow to the skin
  • increased perceived exertion
  • increased use of muscle glycogen
Thirst alone is a poor indicator of how much water is needed. Athletes consistently consume inadequate fluid, managing to only replace about 50% of sweat losses. Guidelines for the athlete are:
  • consume 16 oz. two hours prior to exercise. An additional 16 oz. may be needed for warmer climates.
  • drink 20-40 oz. for every hour of exercise
  • water should be cold
  • if exercising longer than 60 minutes, use a sports drink (containing up to 8% carbohydrate)
  • if exercising less than 60 minutes, water is all you need
  • drink 20 oz for every pound of weight loss after a workout session, especially if you're doing two-a-day's.


girl from florida said...

Hey Kristin! I just want to let you know I LOVEthis blog and read it every day! Sorry I don't always have the time for comment but I look forward to every entry :)

This blog is different from every other fitness blog out there. You are articulate and well-educated. A lot of the facts you present are familiar to me (things I've learned in my exercise physiology classes etc) and I know you don't just make stuff up to sound good.

Anyway, this rocks! Thank you SO much for this blog!!!

stefanierj said...

Hey woman! I know how important water is, but I just can't seem to find the time or inclination to drink it unless I'm working out or eating. Any ideas??

Kristin said...

Thanks GFF :)

A good trick is to take a sip when you do a familiar action i.e., look at the clock, go to the copy machine, hang up the phone, stop at a stop light (although, with this one you may end up sprinting to the bathroom when you get home), etc.

This is a good technique for ab-draw in's & kegels too.