Here in the U.S., July and August are typically the hottest months of the summer. Specifically here in the Midwest, the humidity can be unbearable at times and where just stepping outside for 5-10 minutes can induce sweat comparable to a cardio workout!
Exercising in hot and ultra-humid climates places major stress on the body. Even more so if you’re not drinking enough water or maintaining your electrolyte balance.
Benefits of Proper Hydration
Water makes up roughly 60% of our total bodyweight! The exact amount of water that an individual carries is largely related to the amount of body fat and muscle mass they have in addition to their transient hydration status. Body composition effects our water content due to the fact that our body is made up of different types of cells/tissues, each containing a different percentage of water.
- Bones – 22%
- Adipose (fat) tissue – 25%
- Muscle tissue – 75%
- Blood – 85%
With how much of our body is made up of and highly dependent on water, you can see how beneficial it is to maintain proper hydration levels. Check out the infographic below for some additional benefits that you might not be aware of.
When you have a negative water balance, meaning too little water relative to other solutes in your body and water losses exceed water intake, dehydration can occur. Contrary to popular belief, the sensation of thirst is NOT a sign of dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty you are already in the first stages of dehydration, so it’s important to stay hydrated even on the days you’re not exercising.
While dehydration can occur under your normal, everyday activities, it is very rare and typically mild in nature. However, when you are putting your body through a strenuous workout and not mindful of your water intake, more sever dehydration can occur and several bad things can start to happen:
- fever and sweating
- kidney failure
Personally, I have experienced dehydration in the past and believe when I tell you…it isn’t fun! Once you are in a dehydrated state, your body will not simple recover by itself. You need to stop whatever it is your are doing to prevent any additional fluid loss and get yourself rehydrated as soon as possible!
Water Loss and the Effect on Performance
Want to know how important staying hydrated is to your body’s overall performance? Check out the table below to see just how little the percentage of body water loss can impact you and performance.
|Increased strain on the heart||Reduced aerobic endurance||Reduced muscular endurance||Reduced muscle strength, reduced motor skills, heat cramps||Heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, reduced mental capacity||Physical exhaustion, heatstroke, coma||Death|
Estimate Your Water Intake Needs
The average healthy adult should consume nearly half his or her body weight, in ounces of water, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and that’s just to maintain the most essential functions, such as absorbing nutrients from food and helping lubricate your skin and joints. The amount of water, sodium, potassium and other electrolytes you have in your system pre-exercise also directly impacts your athletic performance and heart rate both during your workout and afterwards.
Here is a calculator to help you determine the proper amount of water your specific body needs.
Your Hydration Levels – A Quick Test
The chart below uses the color of your urine to give you a gauge of your level of hydration. Stick to the colors 1, 2, or 3 as much as possible. Anything above level 3 is an indicator that you need to be consuming more water!
Note: Get immediate medical care if you develop severe symptoms of dehydration such as lack of urination, shriveled skin, fever with vomiting and delirium.
Need a Coach?
If you need to find someone that will hold you accountable, answer your questions, help you, and PUSH YOU for the entire duration of your workout! Luckily for you, that’s what me and my team are here for. If you don’t have a coach yet and want one, I’d love to be your coach and help you through a fitness program. I am available to help you reach your goals!