What Are the Benefits of Hydration?
By: Matt Price – Strength Training Coach, LA Kings, NHL
The body is about 60% water and our biological functions depend heavily on it, which is why it is crucial to drink enough water to stay hydrated each day. During exercise, we sweat, losing water and salt. Water absorption is regulated by our kidneys and blood pressure and sodium are monitored closely, so when these levels drop, the kidneys respond. This needs to be replaced during and after exercise to restore optimal bodily function.
A decrease of just 2% of body weight from water loss has been shown to significantly affect athletic performance. Dehydration of this small degree will have a large impact on:
- Power Production (muscle is impaired as critical electrolytes used in muscle contraction are lost)
- Mental/Cognitive Function (mental acuity is impaired and perceived exertion is increased during performance in a dehydrated state)
Here are five benefits of staying hydrated:
Water helps keep joints lubricated and aids in building muscle to protect the joints. Loss of water pressure in cartilage reduces the amount of cushioning in high impact joints like knees and hips. By drinking more water, it reduces the chances of injury and stress on the joints.
Filtration and Excretion of Toxins:
Proper hydration is key to cleansing your internal system and flushing out toxins. If the body is in a dehydrated state, the kidneys will not be permitted to optimally excrete toxins that have been filtered from blood as they fight to retain blood pressure. Staying hydrated helps eliminate and flush out toxins more frequently. Without enough water, the liver can’t function at its best, and won’t clear toxins as efficiently.
Being properly hydrated allows the kidneys to work effectively and promotes optimal lymphatic drainage. This can help the body fight infection and promote healing. Keeping your immunity up by drinking plenty of water to keep infection at bay helps keep your body free of toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness.
The process of breaking down and absorbing nutrients and excreting waste from whole food requires a lot of water. Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Staying hydrated will improve this process and benefit overall health.
For people recovering from injury, a tough workout or even surgery, proper hydration is important to the success of physical health. Water can also help with muscle soreness and tension.
Hydration also is vital to deep, restful sleep. When dehydrated, the body cannot regulate its core temperature effectively which can impact recovery.
Finally, replacing and restoring the fuel stored in muscles requires optimal water levels in the muscle for glycogen replacement.