Water Water Everywhere But Is It Enough When You’re Working Out?

Posted by Beth Hartman

Ok, for the last 30 years at least we have heard that a person needs to drink 8-8oz glasses of water each day to be healthy and especially if they are looking to lose weight by being more active. And when you look at the facts, its no wonder since about 60% of the human body is made up of water, according to a National Institute of Health Report.

This includes most of your brain, heart, lungs, muscles, and skin, and even about 30 percent of your bones. Besides being one of the main ingredients in the recipe for humankind, water helps us regulate our internal temperature, transports nutrients throughout our bodies, flushes waste, forms saliva, lubricates joints and even serves as a protective shock absorber for vital organs.

So getting back to the above-accepted rule of drinking those 8-8oz glasses of water, really is not the medical rule of thumb. And in all probability, its probably more than an average person should be consuming. Why you ask? Because this statement doesn’t really take into account that we also get a good portion of water from our daily food intakes as well.

Everything we eat contains some water. Raw fruits and vegetables have a lot; fruits such as watermelons and strawberries, for example, are more than 90 percent water by weight, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Different diets naturally contain different amounts of water, but it adds up. According to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, the average North American gets about 20 percent of his or her daily water intake through food, and that counts toward healthy hydration.

The other key water sources that the "8 x 8" rule overlooks are other beverages. Non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee, tea, milk, juice, and soda contain mostly water, and all contribute to your hydration. Contrary to another popular myth, studies show that coffee does not dehydrate you and is a suitable form of H2O intake. In fact, new studies show that the average person can consume 3-5 cups of coffee a day without any harmful effects to your body, specifically your heart.  It was never the coffee that was an issue, it was thought to be the caffeine contained within it. New studies show that the average person can safely drink that proportion of caffeine contained in those servings without causing any specific harm to your hearts rhythm.

But consuming caffeine can affect people in different ways, it all depends on your own body makeup and what it can handle.  There can be adverse side effects of drinking too much caffeine, including headaches and disrupted sleep, for some people. And we do NOT advocate getting a good portion of your H20 intake from consuming large amounts of soda, while it is liquid and qualifies as a substitute for water, besides the large amounts of sugar it contains or some adverse issues that come up when you drink diet anything, soda for most people will actually cause you to become more thirsty, hence you want to drink more, which inflates your daily intake as well.

And if you look at the origins of this rule, which we believe goes back to a research study done in 1945, which came with the conclusion that a person, who consumes a 2,000-calorie diet each day should drink 1 ml of water per calorie of food they consume.

For someone eating a diet of 2,000 calories per day, this adds up to 2,000 ml (roughly 64 oz), or eight 8-oz glasses. But what got lost in the message was the caveat that much of this water could be obtained from foods you consume. So instead, what people remember is the 8x8 rule. And since drinking water can satisfy your thirst while making you feel full for a period of time, most diets, both Fad, and legitimate ones embrace the drinking of ½ gallon of water each day to help you feel fuller, so you will maintain their dietary rules.

Most trainers, team doctors, and even your family physician will tell you the human body is an amazing creation. It will actually let you know when to drink by sending out signals to your brain that you are THIRSTY!

Ok, that’s a little history lesson on drinking enough water. But when you’re working out, are you drinking enough or over-doing it? Based on recent accepted studies the general guidelines are to drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before exercising, another 8 ounces during your warm-up (or 20 to 30 minutes before exercising), 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise, and 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes after exercising.

But is water enough to keep your body moving to its potential during and after a workout, or does it need a little help by your drinking a “Sports Drink” Now again, the jury’s out a bit on this but it is true that when you push your body it sweats and with that sweat coming out, your also losing several minerals and nutrients. If your training or taking part in a marathon of continuous exertion you're going to want to replace that lost water by consistently drinking and the weather also plays a factor in this. If it's hot, your body is going to try and cool you off by using its built-in cooling system, again sweating! And as we said above, with the sweat comes losing those minerals and nutrients. The best bet for rehydration is to consume a low-cal beverage that contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Good choices include sports drinks but choosing the right one again depends on how your body reacts to ingesting a drink while you're exerting yourself and your overall stomach tolerance. One drink that goes with me is the Nuun Active Electrolyte Tablets

These hydration tablets are loaded with electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals to help you stay properly hydrated throughout the day! When your exerting energy during an intense workout, drinking a sports drink that can not only help you to maintain your hydration levels but can also put back those nutrients that you've lost from working your body hard.

Electrolytes are minerals, just as a refresher, are primarily sodium, potassium, calcium, chlorine, magnesium, and phosphates that are in our blood and other body fluids. They have electrical charges and work to activate the electrical tissues of our bodies, including muscles and nerves. Roughly, electrolytes keep our system functioning. Most major organs help regulate our electrolyte levels, and when they're correctly balanced, our blood chemistry runs as it should. This is why it’s important to try and keep this balance stable so that when you ask your body to perform to that next level, it has the means to do so for you!

Bottom line, every person is unique. There are no set guidelines that say you need to drink this specific amount of fluid in order to have your body perform to its maximum and in order for you to still be standing on your feet once you’ve reached the finish line or your own particular goal.

We mentioned it above. The key is to listen to your body, know its hints and nuances and it will let you know when you need to tilt your head back and take a nice long drink!



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