Water: Why You Need it & How Much is Really Enough
(a simple guide to hydration for the fitness minded)

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Thirst tells your body you need it, and it is coming knowledge that without it, you will die. But what does water really do for us, and how much do we REALLY need? If you are an active individual, you may have asked yourself these same questions before so here is a handy little guide to help answer those questions about that universal liquid, WATER.

What does it do?

  • Body temp regulation-Drinking water is absolutely crucial for body temperature regulation. When you are working out intensely, your body’s core temperature rises and in order to keep the temperature at safe levels, your body produces sweat. As the sweat evaporates, this results in a loss of calories and body heat. If you don’t drink enough water and you cannot produce sweat, this process cannot occur which can result in extremely dangerous outcomes. (heat stroke and death being 2 major ones).

  • Joint lubrication-Simply put, when the body is properly hydrated, increased fluid acts as a shock absorber of sorts for your joints. This can help protect them during everyday activity and certainly during the high intensity scenarios included with exercise.

  • Nutrient transport-Your body needs nutrients for energy water is the main transport vehicle for these nutrients. This is one of the reasons why one feels sluggish when dehydrated. Staying properly hydrated will ensure every part of your body gets the nutrients it needs and will help to fuel grueling workouts.

Now that you have some info about what job water has in the body, it’s time to look at how much you should really be drinking. While the EXACT amount for each person can vary, A.C.E. (the American Council on Exercise) has put together a list of guidelines to give us an idea of .

How much is enough?

  • Consume 17 to 20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before you begin any exercise routine.

  • Drink another 8 ounces of water roughly 30 minutes prior to beginning your workout or during your warmup.

  • Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 20 to 30 minutes DURING your workout.

  • Finally, drink another 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after your workout.

Does that seem like a lot of h20? It may be for some, and for others, who are knocking out 100 burpees, a 3 mile run, followed by 100 pullups and 250 pushups…it may not be quite enough, but the guideline should be an excellent starting point for most people who are trying to keep hydrated during their workouts.

How do I know if I am properly hydrated?

One solid tip for how to know if your body is properly hydrated is urine color. If your urine is clear to very light yellow, you are likely properly hydrated. If your urine is dark yellow or amber, then you are likely dehydrated and need to work on consuming more water.

For those who do workout intensely, you don’t have to exclusively drink water as some sports drinks can be a great alternative for seriously intense sweat fests. The increased calories and electrolytes they contain can be an excellent way to help fuel long and intense sessions.

There you have it. So, get to work, stay fit, and above all, STAY HYDRATED!