Too many people underestimate the importance of water to the body.
What is even more alarming is that even among the most experienced athletes, including bodybuilders and fitness fanatics, there is a huge gap in knowledge regarding the understanding as to why proper hydration is important for health, and for competitive success.
Water is our most important nutrient.
The human brain is composed of 95% water; blood is 82% water and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Water is also the single most critical nutrient for health, growth, and development. It is not only the most important nutrient in the body, but also the most abundant. Water is critical to the balance of all the body’s systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and muscles.
How important is this balance? A 2% drop in body water can cause a small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking. Dehydration can also reduce endurance, decrease strength, cause cramping, and slow muscular response.
Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. How common a problem is this in Australia? Estimates are that 70% of Australians have mild or chronic dehydration. This is alarming since proper hydration is required for maintaining healthy blood flow, proper kidney function, proper sodium/potassium /electrolyte balance and proper digestive functions.
The health benefits of water.
Ensuring that you are properly hydrated will prove to be a far better solution to preventing or decreasing wrinkles than the many expensive and in most cases barely effective products being flogged on TV today.
Water is extremely important to the joints. Synovial fluid contains water,and if you become dehydrated, less synovial fluid is available to protect the joints.This is particularly dangerous to bodybuilders since they sweat (lose fluids) and put great stresses on their joints through intense resistance training.
HEALTHIER MIND AND BODY
Water is essential for nutrient absorption and many chemical reactions in the body for overall health, including proper brain function and improvements in memory.
HEALTHIER DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Water helps improve the digestive process and is imperative in maintaining a healthy urinary tract and digestive system.
Water is important to properly metabolize food. Drinking sufficient amounts of water will also help reduce constipation.
Drinking sufficient amounts of water will help the body process and transport nutrients and excrete any waste products once they are metabolized.
This is important for bodybuilders who often increase daily water requirements because they consume much larger amounts of food, vitamins, and supplements. Exercise increases the amount of water lost through sweat and encourages a high metabolism (caused by increased exercise and more lean body mass).
Although water does not provide energy in the same way carbohydrates and fat do, it plays an important role in energy transformation. Water is the medium in which all energy reactions take place. If you become dehydrated you will become lethargic, may experience cramping, and endurance and strength performance will suffer. Athletes who become dehydrated often find reduced performance in the days following.
HELPS IN WEIGHT LOSS
Water can suppress appetite naturally and increases the body’s ability to metabolize stored fat. A decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits. This is thought to occur because a reduction in water decreases the efficiency of the kidneys, which results in some kidney functions being shunted to the liver. Since one of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body, it metabolizes less fat while performing functions normally performed by the kidneys. This results in less stored fat being burned, and a reduction in weight loss.
REDUCES FLUID RETENTION
The body perceives dehydration as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop.Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell) which can result in swollen extremities (feet, legs, and hands). Diuretics offer a temporary solution, but may cause more harm than good if abused. Why? Diuretics will cause the elimination of water, along with many essential nutrients.
Also the body will perceive this conditioning as a threat and replace the lost water at the first opportunity, this causes bloating and fluid retention once again. Regularly drinking plenty of water will eliminate this problem.
HELPS BUILD MUSCLE
Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body. Water helps form the structures of protein and glycogen.In order to move and flex your muscles, you need water. If your body is dehydrated, your muscles will be deprived of electrolytes and cramp. Since muscles are controlled by nerves, without the proper water and electrolyte balance, muscle strength and control will also be impaired.
INCREASES MUSCLE TONE
Muscles are made primarily of water. Dehydration can prevent muscles from properly contracting, reducing muscle tone.
Increasing water intake will help prevent muscle cramping, improve the strength of muscle contractions and quicken muscle response. Preventing dehydration will also help prevent “sagging” skin. Water will fill out the muscles, resulting in clear, healthy, and resilient skin.
REDUCES RISK OF DISEASE
Studies have shown that increasing daily water intake will decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50%, and it may potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is also believed that water may prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
AND DON’T FORGET THIS ONE….
Water also aids circulation, and helps regulate the body’s cooling system. If your body is not at the right temperature it will function poorly
HINTS ON HOW TO STAY HYDRATED
The easiest way to stay hydrated is to drink at least 250ml each hour you’re awake. However, when you are working out it is easy to drink more than 4 times that amount.
When you get in the car, go to a meeting, sit down to watch TV, or sit down to eat a meal, always have some water with you.