What Staying Hydrated Can Do for the Body by Adam Whitehead
[This is a guest blog by one of our Athletic Interns, Adam Whitehead, an Exercise Science student from East Carolina University]
- Water makes up about 60% of a man’s body weight, and 50% of a woman’s
- 55% of water is found in cells (intracellular water)
- 35% of water is found in the interstitial fluid (extracellular water)
- Intracellular water provides form and structure, and a medium for biomechanical reactions
- Extracellular water provides a medium for transport and exchange of nutrients, metabolic by-products, gases, and heat
Staying hydrated is key to keeping normal and balanced cellular function. When training or doing anything outside under extreme heat conditions, it is important to keep your hydration level high. The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Essentials of Strength & Conditioning tells us that as little as a 2% loss of body weight from water can affect a lot of different physiological functions and lead to performance decrements. We all want to be able to perform our best given any type of condition. Even in times of extreme heat where sweat loss is going to be plentiful and dehydration is the enemy.
Possible Symptoms of Dehydration (source):
- Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
- Dry Mouth
- Sleepiness or Fatigue
- Extreme thirst
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
In addition to understanding the importance of keeping your hydration levels up, it is crucial to understand how dehydration can affect your body. Dehydration can cause the body to stop sweating. Sweating is a mechanism that your body does naturally in order to keep its temperature regulated. If you’re not sweating, it could lead to a body that over heats and in turn, might lead to a life threatening heat illness such as a heatstroke. In extreme heat, we sweat more in order to regulate our body’s temperature. When doing high intensity exercise like what you might do at Athletic Lab in extreme heat, you will be sweating even more and your body temp will shoot up. Therefore, it is crucial to get and stay hydrated well before your workout to avoid these symptoms caused by heat and dehydration so that you can maximize your workout.
Tips on staying hydrated from the NSCA:
- Drink water constantly throughout the day. (Not just when you are thirsty)
- 500 ml per 30 minutes of exercise
- If you are voiding pale urine frequently, 6 times a day, is a good indication you are well hydrated
- While working out stay away from carbonated drinks, too much sugar and not enough salt.
- Other than water drink a low sugar sport drink.
- May consume sport drinks with carbohydrates and electrolytes (normally go hand in hand) to keep up thermoregulation, cellular active transport system, and various metabolic functions.