For individuals, lack of water — or dehydration — affects our moods, energy levels, athletic performance and overall physical well-being. Since our bodies lose fluids continuously, we need to replace them, allowing our bodies to function properly.
Things these bodily fluids assist include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature.
Water is so beneficial for our health. Besides water having skin and hair benefits, water can also help control calorie intake. Water is critical to our bodies functioning as water helps support kidneys in processing toxins and assisting gastrointestinal function.
Sixty percent of our body is water so drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids.
For the athlete, staying hydrated makes the difference in one’s game.
“Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel — often results in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” reports the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
ACSM guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early — and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
For most teams, water is available throughout practice and games. Drinking water before and after training helps offset fluid loss. Listen to your body’s cues and stay ahead of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include: headache, dry skin, dizziness, dry mouth, low volume/yellow urine, lethargy, bad breath, muscle cramps and food cravings. Don’t wait until a ton of these sets in. Water is best for athletes to rehydrate. If players do drink sports drinks, cut them in half with water.
Eat water-rich food: grapefruit, cucumber, lettuce, celery, tomato, peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, broccoli, carrots and cantaloupe all have water content above 90 percent.
Drink before you eat. Sometimes we’re just in need of water, not food. Make yourself drink a glass of water before checking your social media. That should ensure you get water regularly throughout the day.