Water is a major component of our bodies. It’s used to maintain a normal body temperature, for the proper digestion of food and for the absorption of nutrients. It’s therefore unsurprising that proper hydration is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
Converse to this, dehydration can affect your body in a multitude of ways. Muscles can feel tired and achy, and this lessens their ability to perform. In everyday life, this can leave us feeling sluggish, but in the gym it can hamper a person’s ability to train. A bottle of water is therefore one of the most important elements in any athlete’s gym bag.
Dehydration can also affect gym sessions by causing joint pain because cartilage and spinal discs are heavily composed of water. Without a cushion of protection, shocks to the body that naturally occur during high impact training permeate deep into the joints.
Turning to the ways that dehydration can affect physical appearance, it can cause fine lines around the eyes, a dull complexion and dry patches of skin. In addition to this, without an adequate supply of water the skin is less able to sweat out toxins – sweating effectively washes toxins through the pores. This build up can lead to breakouts.
Finally, dehydration can take a major toll on the brain. This is because the brain is heavily made up of water, so when it is lacking the brain shrinks. This causes headaches and reduces mental capacity.
With all these unpleasant consequences in mind, it’s a wonder anybody allows themselves to become dehydrated. However, most people don’t realise that they need to drink more water. This is because we often wait until we feel thirsty to have a drink, but by this point your body has already lost 2-3% of its water supplies. Thus, it is better to keep your water levels topped up than to wait until they are depleted to have a drink.
Whilst it has been commonly said that the average person needs eight glasses of water per day, the actual amount required by the body varies person to person. It will be affected by factors such as physical activity, weight, and climate. So, for example, you need to drink more water if you’re going to the gym or if it’s a hot day.
Rather than forcing yourself to drink large amounts of water in one go, it’s better practice to constantly sip at it throughout the day. It can be difficult to remember to do this, which is why keeping a water bottle by your side is a good way to remind yourself.
Of course, bottled water can be expensive and if you’re drinking a lot of it (as you should) the costs soon mount up. This is why a reusable water bottle is such a good investment. Refilling it from a tap, or from a larger bottle of water, will avoid the costs associated with buying a disposable bottle every day. It’s also much better for the environment.
So, remember, if you want your body to be able to perform at its best you need to stay hydrated.