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Why and how should you stay hydrated?

Hydration is essential for maintaining a balanced diet and lifestyle.

We all lose liquids naturally throughout the day, either through sweating, urine or even tears and therefore we must replace them regularly.

See now the importance that good hydration has, especially for athletes and for the improvement of their physical performance, learn how to stay hydrated before, during and after exercise.

The importance of hydration

When we think of hydration, naturally we immediately see words like water, because it is essential to maintain good levels of hydration in the body.

The specific case of water

importance of water

Water is a fundamental element in the human body, constituting between 45 to 75% of the body weight of the individual.

The proportion of water present in the human body does not depend solely on the intake of water, having the body composition itself a great influence on this value.

Muscle mass has a higher percentage of water (70 to 75%) compared to body fat (10 to 40%).

Therefore, individuals with large percentages of body fat present a reduced percentage of water, even they drink a lot during the day.

Why you should stay hydrated and what are the features of the water

Hydration helps to keep your body healthy and it’s easy to understand why, you just have to understand some of the features of the water.

Water is an essential element of life and participates in various processes, intervening in metabolic actions, the functioning of the digestive process and the circulatory system, the transport of nutrients, the regulation of body temperature, the elimination of toxins and the muscle contraction.

In addition to the functions described, according to the General Directory of Health, water also contributes to good functioning at the brain level, state of humor, maximization of memory capacity/concentration, prevention of kidney-level pathologies, such Like kidney stones (renal gallbladder) and promotion of physical performance.

How much should you ingest?

There is no exact value, because that is something that depends on a number of factors, such as sex and age, for example.

But according to the Institute of Hydration and Health, for women and healthy men, the quantities of recommended water consumption can vary between 1, 5l and 1, 9l, respectively.

However, these values may undergo changes depending on the environmental conditions, the practice of physical activity and the body composition.

For example, the higher the load of physical exercise and the temperature, the greater the water needs.

Do not forget that by consuming certain foods, essentially fruits and vegetables, you are also consuming water, since a large percentage of these foods are water.

Is water consumption enough to maintain hydration?

While essential, as you can see, it is not the only resource for maintaining adequate levels of hydration.

Throughout the day, and especially in case of intense physical activity (for example in resistance sports or longer) there is loss of electrolytes (minerals).

Some of the most important for the proper functioning of our body are: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Chloride, Bicarbonate and Phosphate.

They play important functions in our bodies, some of them shared with those of the water, but what can be highlighted is: regulation of muscular contractions, acceleration of the glucose transportation to the muscles, promotion of the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate – a molecule responsible for providing explosive energy for the muscles) and maintenance of bone health.

The replenishment of electrolytes (minerals), which can be achieved through the consumption of food or some supplements, is therefore determinant.

Food with water

Some examples of fruits and vegetables rich in water and minerals are:

  • Cucumber
  • Watercress
  • Tomato
  • Spinach
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon

The consumption of water and minerals will help you fight the dreaded state of dehydration.

What happens to the body when we are not properly hydrated?

We go into a state of dehydration.

Dehydration occurs when there is an imbalance of fluids in the body and when it does not have the amounts of water needed to function properly.

When we find ourselves dehydrated, some warning signs are sent to our body that can be manifested by:

  • Thirsty
  • Decreased urine excreted – may lead to fluid retention

See how you can fight the retention of liquids here.

  • More concentrated urine
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness and irritability
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Decreased tears release
  • Mucous membrane dryness (mouth and tongue)

So, avoid these symptoms and do not wait to feel thirsty to ingest liquids!

If you practice exercise, then your attention to hydration should be redoubled. See its importance and some tips on what you can do to keep yourself hydrated.

Hydration for athletes

hydration for athletes

For athletes, hydration becomes especially important as it can influence performance.

During the physical activity is excreted water and minerals, especially through sweat and, when that loss reaches about 1 to 2% of the body weight, the physical performance ends up compromised.

When the values reach the 5% loss, according to some authors, the breakdown of physical performance reaches 30%.

Dehydration also causes a decrease in muscle strength, peak power and high load resistance, and for this reason a correct hydration is needed before, during and after training/physical testing.

Finally, dehydration in athletes can still lead to injury and should therefore become a priority for the athlete.

Tips on how to maintain hydration

take notes

Hydration must be done throughout the day but you should begin to pay more attention to this about 4 hours before the exercise, being the appropriate (intake of liquids) 5 to 7 ml/kg weight.

Imagining an athlete with 80 kg, the value would be around 400ml to 560ml of liquids, which may contain minerals in its composition (with main emphasis for sodium).

With regard to food, healthy food rich in water, should be priority, such as: fruit, vegetable shakes, natural fruit juices, coconut water and teas.

During the exercise water can be ingested (water is an excellent way to hydrate, however, in the case of athletes, due to the loss of minerals through sweat, this water should contain sodium and potassium, so as to replenish the levels lost by the sweating), isotonic beverages and gels (both recommended, especially for endurance athletes. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), sports beverage must be ingested every 15-20 minutes in exercises lasting more than 60 minutes, and one should not drink more than 1/4 per hour during exercise).

You can find a wide variety of isotonic and gels at Zumub.

They are great for restoring the electrolyte balance, in addition to helping to replenish the energy levels through the carbohydrates that normally constitute them, and some options, because they have amino acids, will also help you recover your muscles.

In the period after the exercise, the goal is to replenish the generated deficit at water and mineral level.

Some foods may also be consumed that will help in the water and mineral intake, such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Soup
  • Fruit
  • Beverages
  • Teas
  • Raw/cooked vegetables.

There are also food rich in water, but that should not be a priority for the athlete and only consumed sporadically, such as sodas, milk and alcohol.

Variables to take into consideration

  • Hydration is important for all athletes, not only for endurance athletes but also for those who focus their training on weightlifting, because they also have liquids lost.
  • Hydration needs vary from person to person and according to physical activity and their requirement, so these values may vary. According to ACSM, it is recommended to measure the state of hydration before the practice of the exercise.
  • Excessive water consumption is not recommended because it can lead to excess water poisoning in the body.

In conclusion…

Hydration is fundamental to all human beings.

But as you can see, it is even more important to athletes and should be a priority for them, regardless of the type of sport they do – being that the higher the intensity of the exercise, the greater the need for hydration.

They should be as careful with hydration as they are with food and training, as they are three fundamental elements that directly influence physical performance.

Follow some of these tips and share in the comments some of your tricks to stay hydrated!

Comments

The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About Liliana Silvestre

Liliana Silvestre
Liliana Silvestre is a nutritionist with a degree in dietetics from ESSLEI. She has professional experience in various fields of nutrition, and she has a passion for healthy cooking. Her goal is to help as many people as possible to transform their lifestyles adopting more healthy habits.

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