When we were kids in school our knowledge about water was initially restricted to the fact that it was great fun to fill up our squirt guns with water, at least until the principal caught us. Later we went on to learn that each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.
What we really didn’t learn, however, was how much water we needed in order to be healthy human beings.
Why We Need Water
Signs of Dehydration
The first drawback to dehydration is diminished performance. If you continue to exercise without proper fluid intake, you may experience a drop in blood pressure; and feel faint, dizzy or nauseous. These are the symptoms of heat exhaustion. If you keep going, your body’s ability to dissipate heat is further impaired and you may suffer heat stroke.
During heat stroke, your temperature can rise above 41 degrees Celsius. At this point, you no longer sweat, and seizures, coma or even death may result. Remember, blood not only carries oxygen to your working muscles, it sends it to all of our vital organs, like the brain.
How Much Water To Drink
If you live in an arid climate, you should add another 2 servings per day. As you can see, your daily need for water can add up to quite a lot.
When you consume fluids, the rate of gastric emptying is speedy in the first few minutes, and then steadily slows down. To prevent this, you should consume small amounts of fluids frequently throughout your workout. Large amounts of water ingested quickly (such as 600 ml) during exercise, often cause gastric and intestinal distress. Around 400 ml of water can be cleared in 15 minutes for use, so it would be best to have 200-400 ml of water every 15 minutes for ample hydration.
You should follow the same guidelines when exercising indoors.
Carry a Water Bottle
Here are some additional tips for staying hydrated:
- Drink water throughout the day, even if you are not thirsty.
- Avoid sugary drinks, such as soda and juice. These drinks can actually dehydrate you.
- Drink more water when you are exercising, sweating, or in hot or humid conditions.
- Eat fruits and vegetables, which are high in water content.
If you have any concerns about your hydration status, talk to your doctor.