Stay Hydrated during the HOT Weather!

Keep Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

More than half your body weight is made up by water and for good reason! Your body relies on water to function properly; it needs it to remove waste, maintain a proper body temperature and lubricate your joints. While you can go weeks without food, your body can only go an estimated three to five days without water. Along with allowing you to stay alive, water also plays an essential role in your muscle's abilities to work and perform. As such, a lack of water, or dehydration, can lead to unwanted effects in regard to exercise. When dehydrated, you can experience everything from a headache to lack of tears when you cry. Keeping the right amount of fluid in your body is easy; you simply need to make small changes to ensure this happens.

 Why do we need water?

Water is essential for muscle cells to get the necessary oxygen and nutrients they need to create energy. Water is used in the cardiovascular system to make up the bulk of your blood. Blood transports oxygen and nutrients from the foods you eat and the air you breathe through the arteries and into the capillaries throughout your muscles. During exercise there is an increased demand for oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the muscles. When you don't drink enough water, your blood volume is affected, restricting how fast the blood can transport the substances your muscle cells need in order to create energy to keep exercising.

Dehydration Dangers

Not staying hydrated before, during and after exercise may result in potentially dangerous side effects. If you're already low on water, and then increase water loss through sweat during exercise, dehydration can quickly set in. Dehydration can lead to mild symptoms like dry mouth, headache, dizziness or feeling lightheaded, or it can grow into symptoms of severe dehydration, such as low blood pressure, high heart rate, confusion, fever and unconsciousness. If at anytime you feel lightheaded, dizzy or like you're going to lose consciousness, stop exercising immediately and drink plenty of water.

Cramp - When your muscles are not getting the oxygen and nutrients they need, they can tense up as a protective reaction to stop energy use. This results in the pain and tightness associated with cramp. Cramp can also be caused through an electrolyte imbalance as a result of dehydration. Exercise causes you to sweat, which can lower water levels and throw off the balance of key electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and calcium. Muscles rely on this balance to operate correctly, especially at levels of higher activity during exercise. 

How to Keep Hydrated

To help your body perform at its best during exercise, it's important to stay hydrated, even when you're not performing a physical activity. There are several different recommendations on how much water your body needs to stay hydrated. The most basic is the "eight-by-eight" rule, or 8 cups of water eight times a day. For more specific water guidelines, the Food and Nutrition boards recommends 2.7 litres for women and 3.7 litres for men each day

  • Begin and End Your Day With Water - Drinking a glass of water upon waking replaces any fluids lost during the night and jump-starts your hydration journey for the day. Ending your day with a glass of water offers the same benefits, especially if you exercise vigorously or drink other beverages such as coffee that contribute to dehydration.
  • Set a Schedule - Drinking water is easy to forget until thirst strikes. If you are always on the go, fill a water bottle and take it with you. Carry it by your side at all times, taking a few sips here and there throughout the day.
  • Increase Intake During Exercise - Studies have shown that it’s not just important to drink during exercise but also before and after. In order to prevent dehydration during exercise make sure that you’ve had plenty to drink before your work out and continue to drink after your workout to ensure you are replacing any fluids you have lost.
  • Watch Out for Signs of Dehydration – If at any point during your exercise routine you feel any of the symptoms of dehydration, stop exercising immediately and drink plenty of water
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