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Water – The Importance of Staying Hydrated for Athletes

Hydration is arguably the most critical factor not only for good health, but also in the development of athletic pursuits. Drinking water is particularly important for athletes because the nature of their activities lend to using up stores more quickly.  For individuals participating in sports, careful monitoring of water intake to insure they are getting adequate amounts to stay hydrated is imperative.

The body is made up of 70% water and water is considered to be the second most critical factor in which life is dependent upon, the first being oxygen.  Because water makes up a considerable part of the body, it is essential to maintain.  Dehydration occurs when the body omits more water than which takes in.

So why is water so important for general health?  The body relies on it for a number of purposes including:  proper brain function, removing toxins and acid from the body, metabolizing fat, regulating body temperature, aiding in food digestion, increasing oxygen to the blood, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients to the cells.  In addition to the reasons individuals need water to function effectively, it’s important to remember that proper hydration can do more for the athlete them simply help them stay healthy?  Athletes who are dehydrated show a considerable decrease in performance.  They simply lack the energy and focus to perform well when dehydrated.

The best defense for dehydration is to be proactive.  Never wait until thirst strikes to consume water.  At that point it is likely too late.  According to Web MD, common signs of dehydration include increased thirst (your brain telling you your body needs water), dry mouth and dry nasal passages, weakness, dizziness, palpitations (due to the subsequent electrolyte imbalance dehydration causes), confusion, inability to sweat, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and if not treated eventually death.

Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine can help ensure you stay hydrated:

  • Drink two glasses of luke-warm water upon waking each morning.  This will jump start your metabolism and wake you up.
  • Consume fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content.  There are many options available that are considered to be in this category.
  • Add fresh lemon juice to water for added flavor and health benefits.
  • Drink using a straw.  Many people naturally consume more water using a straw.
  • Limit intake of drinks which contain sugar.  The more things we drink that are not water, the less water we feel like drinking.
  • Keep water on your bedside table.  If you rise in the middle of the night drink a small amount.
  • Always order water with meals and try and drink at least one cup before eating.  It not only helps to hydrate but helps to prevent over eating.
  • Keep a water journal.  For one week track the amount of water you consume.  It’s likely less that you need.  When you write it down it helps make you aware of what you a missing.
  • Add fruits and veggies to water for a refreshing treat.  Water with cucumber or oranges added can be visually appealing and very refreshing.

Many people are committed to their wellness and athletic goals but often overlook simple ways to progress and stay fit.  Staying hydrated is essential for preventing disease and staying healthy.  In addition, proper hydrations can aid in weight management, athletic performance and overall well-being.  Drink up!

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