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The importance of hydration on performance

I’m sure you’re well aware that being well-hydrated is important to carry out many functions within the body. During exercise, water plays a key role in maintaining blood volume, regulating our core body temperature as well as ensuring normal muscle contractions.

Our body is made up of approximately 60% water and with this, it’s incredibly important to maintain an adequate water balance/hydration status.

Water balance is the simple equation of input vs output. Input being fluids consumed, as well as a percentage from food, output includes the obvious nature of when we go to the toilet, as well as sweat to cool the body down.

Our body does a pretty great job at actively maintaining this balance to keep it in a normal range and further ensure it doesn’t enter a dehydrated state.

Dehydration can be defined as a loss of body mass larger than 2% - this seems like a such small amount but is actually enough to impede physical performance.

At 2% lost, symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and vague discomfort can start coming into play. This can be a result of a decrease in blood volume - which makes it more difficult to maintain blood pressure and blood flow, therefore placing a strain on our cardiovascular system and in turn, causing us to feel fatigued sooner than we normally would when well hydrated.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration can include, first and foremost, the most obvious one being thirst, second to thirst includes headaches, an increased perception of effort and a dark urine colour.

As water is involved in significant processes in the body during physical activity, it’s important to ensure you’re well hydrated before, during and after physical activity to prevent any negative impediments.

As we know a key indication that we have not drunk enough water is thirst, therefore a simple way to stay on top of this is to drink water frequently throughout the day. It also doesn’t necessarily all have to come from water, whilst it is certainly recommended that water is your primary source, other fluids and a percentage from food will contribute to your hydration status too.

Some simple questions you can ask yourself to ensure you aren’t entering a dehydrated state are “Am i thirsty” or “Is my morning urine dark in colour”? if you answer yes to those, you could probably benefit from increasing your water intake.

If you have any further questions on this, don’t be afraid to get in touch!

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