Why is hydration important

Staying well hydrated is important and it has positive impacts both in the gym and outside it. Adequate fluid intake is essential during prolonged training sessions. Proper hydration helps to maintain exercise performance, lower submaximal heart rate, reduce heat stress and exhaustion, and reduce the risk of heat stroke when exercising.

Staying well hydrated is important and it has positive impacts both in the gym and outside it. Adequate fluid intake is essential during prolonged training sessions. Proper hydration helps to maintain exercise performance, lower submaximal heart rate, reduce heat stress and exhaustion, and reduce the risk of heat stroke when exercising. 

 

Performance impairments have been observed even with modest dehydration (approximately 2% of body mass) which provokes changes in cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, metabolic and nervous system function. These changes include increased stress on the cardiovascular system and increased heart rate as well as inadequate heat transfer to the skin, which impair performance and efficiency when training. This is especially true for aerobic training, which is affected to a greater degree by dehydration. 

 

The amount of fluid intake needed to maintain good hydration levels varies depending on many factors. The individual's metabolic rate, the exercise duration and the exercise environment all affect the amount of fluid needed. For example, someone training for a longer period of time in a warmer environment will lose more fluid and have greater hydration needs than someone training for a shorter duration of time in a colder environment. 

 

Staying hydrated also increases your safety by reducing the risk of suffering any medical problems or injuries due to fluid loss, such as heat stroke and falls. Dehydration during exercise can contribute to the development of heat stroke, especially in hot environments, and maintaining proper hydration can help to prevent this. Alongside this, dehydration can cause fainting which may result in serious injuries if it occurs while using heavy equipment such as barbells or while using cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills. 

 

An added benefit of good hydration is that it helps to maintain productivity and morale when at work or studying. Dehydration can adversely affect decision making and cognitive performance, which leads to a decline in productivity and an increased risk of work-related accidents. 

 

  1. Von Duvillard SP, Braun WA, Markofski M, Beneke R, Leithäuser R. Fluids and hydration in prolonged endurance performance. Nutrition. 2004 Jul-Aug;20(7-8):651-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2004.04.011. PMID: 15212747. 

  1. Kenefick RW, Cheuvront SN. Hydration for recreational sport and physical activity. Nutr Rev. 2012 Nov;70 Suppl 2:S137-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00523.x. PMID: 23121349. 

  1. Murray B. Hydration and physical performance. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Oct;26(5 Suppl):542S-548S. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2007.10719656. PMID: 17921463. 

 

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