Water is essential for human life. While we can survive a significant amount of time without food, the same can’t be said for water. It’s crucial for a number of processes in the body such as maintaining a healthy blood flow and regulating a sufficient balance between potassium, sodium, and electrolytes in the body to preserve its normal and essential functions.
Many individuals are walking around mildly dehydrated and don’t even realise it. When the weather improves and the heat levels are dialled up a notch, it can be hard to remember to drink ample fluids. This can cause some unwanted issues that will hinder your progress in the gym.
What happens when I’m dehydrated?
Dehydration can vary in severity from mild to pretty serious — mild being the most common level that many people experience on a day-to-day basis.
This is a common side effect of dehydration and is pretty unpleasant to say the least. Muscle cramps and spasms can cut a great training session short when they strike, and dehydration is more often than not the culprit. So, make sure you’ve had plenty to drink before a workout and keeping sipping throughout too.
Mild dehydration can leave you feeling sluggish and unmotivated, especially in the warmer weather. Although there are no calories in water, the way there are in macronutrients such as carbohydrates, water is an essential component for reactions to occur that create energy for the body.
People may suffer from headaches when they are mildly dehydrated and just feel under the weather. This can seriously impact on your motivation to train — nobody wants to hit the gym for a killer session when they feel exhausted.
3. Reduction in performance
Mild dehydration can have a negative impact on performance. Weights feel a whole lot heavier if you are not on top of your fluid intake. The same can be said for endurance training such as running and cycling.
What should feel like a piece of cake can feel like a trek up Everest, and it’s tough to hit personal bests in a dehydrated state.
Benefits of staying hydrated
A slight reduction in hydration levels can cause a reduction in performance. This is due to the fact that the body is mainly comprised of water and as mentioned above, ample hydration is necessary for the body and its organs to carry out essential functions.
May aid weight loss
Water helps to promote satiety, especially when you have a glass before meals. This can be an effective way to feel fuller and help to control your calorie intake. Ensuring that you are hydrated will also mean your body will be able to burn calories effectively.
Healthy digestive system
Dehydration can result in a sluggish digestive system as water is needed to help move food through your body and for the digestion process. You can also help to prevent potential issues such as constipation by staying hydrated.
If you’re trying to avoid feeling bloated and holding water, one of the worst things you can do is restrict fluids. This is why the body is so well equipped for survival.
If you become dehydrated, your body will release hormones that will cause you to hold onto as much water as possible as the body will treat the lack of fluids as a threat. To avoid this response, ensure you drink enough fluids – and your waistband might just thank you for it!
Take home message
Avoiding dehydration can equate to a big improvement in performance and health. Drinking enough will ensure that your body can perform as it’s supposed to. So, make sure that you drink plenty of water before, during, and after every workout if you want to reach that PB.