How hydrated are you in isolation?
Did you know that our muscles are made up of up to 75% water? That means if you're dehydrated, it's impossible to perform at maximum performance..
This is something that is worth thinking about all the time, especially when we're asking our bodies to workout.
Hydrating before the workout is essential to allowing the body to perform better. By having a hydrated body, our body can control it's temperature (by sweating) and perform at maximum.
So how do I know if I'm dehydrated?
Well the first thing the body does when its dehydrated is release a hormone which stimulates thirst. But at this point, it's too late, you're already dehydrated. So it's best to rely on tracking fluid intake via your water bottle, or use of a timer to help with staying hydrated.
Although it seems gross; checking the colour of your urine is a fantastic way to see if you're hydrated. A clear-is colour is great, anything mid to deep yellow or green, and you're dehydrated
Easy ways to stay hydrated
Have a bottle that's easy to drink out of - this sounds silly, but if your bottle spills everywhere when you drink, you're less likely to reach for it.
Keep your bottle easily accessible, or always have a glass of water near by when working by the laptop. "Out of sight, out of mind" if you can see it, you're more likely to reach for it.
Drink cool drinks - I was always taught tepid drinks are better for you to rehydrate, but recent studies show cool drinks will help reduce your core temperature faster.
Drink early and regularly - try to start drinking as soon as you get up, you'll be more likely to stay hydrated, aim for around 200ml every 20-30 mins.
Remember anything in excess is bad, so on the spin of this, you can hyperhydrate if you take on too much water.
Other reasons to stay hydrated
If we've not convinced you already that staying hydrated is a good thing, here's a few more reasons not related to sport
Better skin - being hydrated helps your skin clear its toxins, meaning you'll have clearer skin, less red patches and itchiness
Better concentration - Your brain contains up to 85% water. So being hydrated helps memory and your ability to concentrate
Lose fat - Drinking water stimulates your metabolism, meaning your bodies ability to burn fat will be boosted
Better joint movement - Again, water is one of the things that helps lubricate our joints therefore reducing the risk of arthritis
Is water enough?
When we're talking sport, really the answer is no. Day to day, your body can use the sodium and electrolytes in the foods we eat to replenish the stores. But when it comes to sport, we need to be taking on more than just water. Just replacing the water from the sweat, will result in our sodium levels being too low in the blood, this can result in fatigue, headaches, nausea and most well known, CRAMP! (Any student who's taken a black belt grading will know about this!)
Can I make my own sports drink?
Yes! Here's a little recipe for you, easy to make and cheap.
3 cups water
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt
You can tweak this recipe, depending on the products you have available, but its a great start when you cant get to the shops.
Remember the old saying of "drink 8 glasses of water a day"
This is still a fantastic guideline for most people, the average person is far more likely to be dehydrated, so 8 glasses is a good target.
Track your water daily and always keep it nearby.
If your doing a hard workout, you need more than just water afterwards and sometimes during the workout. So plan ahead to make sure you're prepared.