We often forget about how important water is to exercise performance and weight loss. We work much harder at finding the right foods and the most effective exercise routine than we do in remembering to drink enough water.
Water plays a crucial role and is involved with practically every function in the human body. It cools the body down during exercise (even when it’s cold outside), carries nutrients to cells, helps digest food, lubricates joints, affects hormone regulation, and is the main component of blood.
Proper water intake is also a key component for weight loss. Fat metabolism simply does not occur at an optimal rate when we are chronically dehydrated. Even new research has shown that increasing water intake can be an effective weight loss tool. Dr. Brenda Davy, a registered dietitian, and colleagues at Virginia Tech found that dieters who drank two cups of water before meals lost an average of five pounds more than dieters who didn’t increase their water intake.
A lack of water also can hinder exercise performance. This is primarily because of a reduction in cardiovascular output, metabolic reactions and an increase in core temperature.
In other words, water can make or break a successful workout. As a general rule, 24 to 32 ounces of water should be consumed two hours before exercise, 4 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise, and a minimum of 24 ounces after exercise.
TIPS AND GUIDELINES FOR PROPER WATER INTAKE
Daily intake: Current research from the Institute of Medicine found that the average water loss per day was nine cups for women and 13 cups for men, which also is the minimum daily recommendation for each.
You’ve already likely heard this but still do it: Don’t rely on thirst as an indicator. By the time you’re thirsty your body has already lost 1.5 to 2.0 liters! Try sipping 4 to 8 ounces per hour throughout the day.
Out of sight, out of mind: It’s easy to forget about drinking water. Try keeping a water bottle at your desk or work station. The more visible it is, the more likely you’ll be consistent with your daily consumption.
Eat your fruits and vegetables: 19 percent of our fluid intake comes from food. Fruits and vegetables are water-dense and are great for getting additional hydration. Plus, they are packed with nutrients, high in fiber, and low in calories, which also can help you lose weight.