Water, we all drink it, all need it, but what does it do for us? Simply, it is used as a method of carrying nutrients in the body, shuttling out waste products and also lubrication among other aspects (Jequier E and Constant F).
Okay, so how much should we drink then? It has long been advised that we should consume 8 glasses of water a day but is this really necessary or do we need more?
Exercise enthusiasts will always be advised to consume vast amount of water by their coaches or Guru. Averaging on anywhere between 4 litres to 7 litres a day, it is inevitable that a lot of your free time can be spent going to the bathroom (or desperate in finding a bathroom – been there…. Not only is this consumption of water probably excessive, but most likely will stress your kidneys due to requiring frequent urination. Valtin believes that other beverages (beer/ coffee etc) can, in some cases count towards your daily required amount of water. So maybe we can reduce the amount of gallon jugs we carry around everyday (sounds good already) and head to our nearest (insert favorite bar or cafe name..starbu….).
Valtin also goes on to state that we can analyse how dehydrated we are by the colour of our urine (darker urine is a sign of dehydration). Therefore with perhaps some common sense we can avoid being dehydrated and just drink when your urine looks dark. Not so tough is it?
Okay so now we know how to check for dehydration, So what actually is dehydration? In common belief it is just the lack of water in the body, however this is not so simple.
There are different forms of dehydration (Jequier E and Constant F) – This is where we get more scientific
(if you are bored already with the scientific stuff skip to the end, it gets better I promise).
- isotonic (equal water and salt loss)
- hypertonic (loss of water with excess salt)
- hypotonic (loss of salt with high levels of water)
So this is all very interesting but what does this mean? Well, in layman terms (that’s you and me) it shows the importance of salt and not just water (please see our previous article). Do we then need to be worried about any type of dehydration?
It is common belief in the sporting world that a sign of thirst is ‘too late’ and the negative effects of dehydration will already be occurring.. (oh sh… where’s my Evian @) However On the other hand, dehydration has been shown to negatively impact endurance excercise and cognitive function, however more studies need to be carried out on the impact upon stength training (Barr. S and Kempton.M et al). In addition Moroff and Bass found that overhydration for workers in heat were found to be more productive and had less physioloigcal strain. So go buy yourself some water and become Aqua-man!
So in summary make sure you drink water before exercising, but also don’t forget to add your NaCl on your food and stay hydrated. Don’t leave (Na) problems to (Cl)oud your judgement and enjoy!
- Valti. H “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 × 8”?the American Physiological Society. 2002
- Physiology of Man in the Desert”. HafnerNew York 1969.
- Moroff. S and Bass. D “Effects of overhydration on man’s physiological responses to work in the heat” the American Physiological Society 1965
- Jequier.E and Constant. F “Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hydration” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010
- Barr. S “Effects of Dehydration on Exercise Performance” Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology 1999
- Kempton. M et al “Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents” Human Brain Mapping” 2011