Why staying hydrated is important to improve your fitness

The need for water is essential for all life on this planet and more so for those involved in rigorous physical routines like athletes. For their above-average hydration requirements, there exist certain hacks that can assist them in the long run. Knowing them is crucial since staying hydrated increases energy, improves movement, recovery, agility, aids thermoregulation, improves mental clarity, and improves physical performance by reducing the risk of injuries.

As part of our Online Education Programme, we recently conducted a webinar to help our athletes learn about these hydration hacks. The session, carried out by Mihira Khopkar, Lead- Sports Nutritionist, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital, explained various tips to improve performance by adopting better hydration habits. She also explained the various functions that water performs in the human body.

Mihira began by stating some of the essential functions that water performs:

  • It helps in cooling the body by helping form sweat
  • Helps in transporting nutrients and oxygen
  • It catalyzes waste removal from our body (lactic acid, CO2)
  • Helps in maintaining blood pressure
  • Helps in digestion of food
  • Lubricates joints

She then listed some of the foods that are rich sources of water and are thus beneficial for the body:

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Oranges
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Boiled broccoli
  • Milk
  • Spinach
  • Boiled green beans
  • Cooked cereals

After discussing the water-to-weight ratio of the above elements, Mihira explained the common dos and don’ts one should follow when it comes to water consumption.

1) Things one should say yes to include:

  • Plain water
  • Fresh fruit juices
  • Coconut water
  • Sugarcane juice
  • Fruits and vegetables

2) Things one should avoid for hydration needs:

  • Soda
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Excess sugar

Mihira then elaborated on the various factors that one needs to keep in mind for proper hydration. These factors include:

  • Drink as soon as you are thirsty (drink up pre and during training)
  • Check your urine colour
  • Check weight pre and post-training (always drink up post-training)

As the webinar progressed, Mihira summarised by stating the mandatory things one needs to keep in mind to maintain proper water balance in the body:

  • Consumption of at least 2 - 3l of fluids per day is essential
  • More than 2% dehydration can affect performance negatively
  • Following hydration guidelines is a must
  • Using simple strategies such as carbohydrate mouth rinse, use of ice-slurries and chewing on menthol to combat dehydration and maintain performance

To conclude it can be said that whether one’s a professional athlete or a person exercising to stay fit, it’s important to stay hydrated. Good hydration means getting the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise/training. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. Without proper hydration one’s body can’t perform at its highest level. Thus stay hydrated to avoid physical problems like recurring muscle cramps, dizziness, and other serious disorders.

In case of queries or if you have any suggestions for webinar topics, please feel free to connect with us on Instagram/Facebook or email us at info@rfyouthsports.com

Why staying hydrated is important to improve your fitness

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