Do you drink enough water? Are you sure about that?
Whether you're an athlete or simply enjoying an active lifestyle, staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining whole-body health. Proper hydration offers many benefits, from promoting healthier-looking hair and skin to enhancing cognitive function. It also plays a vital role in helping active individuals recover after an injury, prevent future injuries, and maximize athletic performance.
At SPARK Physiotherapy, we provide personalized one-on-one physical therapy sessions to help you bounce back from an injury, improve your performance, and stay at the top of your game. Healthy hydration is a key tenet of our individualized treatment plans. Here's what you should know about good old H20 and how it can help you make the most of your SPARK Physiotherapy sessions.
Exploring the Dangers of Dehydration
Not drinking enough water stresses the cardiovascular system and decreases strength, endurance, and overall physical performance, increasing your risk for injury or illness. People who are dehydrated are more likely to suffer a heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke, during periods of intense physical activity or particularly hot weather.
Dehydration can also strain the kidneys, increase the likelihood of developing a urinary tract infection, and cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Digestive discomfort
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Dizziness and fatigue
Listening to your body and learning to recognize early signs of thirst and dehydration can help you stay hydrated.
How Your Body Benefits From Healthy Hydration
Considering that the human body is approximately 60 percent water, it's unsurprising that proper hydration is critical to achieving or maintaining optimal health and fitness. In addition to the hair, skin, and cognitive benefits hydration provides, drinking plenty of water can also:
- Aid digestion, preventing common causes of discomfort, like gas and bloating, and break down soluble fiber to help keep the digestive process running smoothly.
- Increase energy level by reducing how hard your heart must work to keep blood pumping through your body.
- Lubricate and cushion joints to prevent or decrease pain or stiffness, promoting fluid movement and flexibility.
- Relieve muscle soreness and tension, aiding in a faster recovery and enhanced physical performance.
- Promote healthy heart and kidney function, contributing to cardiovascular and renal wellness.
- Enable the body to transport nutrients into cells more efficiently, supporting essential bodily functions and optimal nourishment.
- Reduce the occurrence of severe headaches and migraines, alleviating discomfort and improving daily well-being.
- Rid the body of toxins via urination, perspiration, and bowel movements, aiding in detoxification and waste management.
- Regulate body temperature, helping to maintain a balanced internal environment and prevent overheating.
- Support the immune system and promote healing, enhancing the body's defense mechanisms and recovery processes.
The Dehydration-Hydration Disconnect
Despite widespread awareness of the harmful effects of dehydration – both on the body and athletic performance – studies show that athletes and active people often fail to practice appropriate hydration strategies. While recommended daily water intake varies depending on age, weight, activity level, and climate, experts typically recommend drinking between eight and 11 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
When you drink water can be as important as the amount you drink. The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) recommends drinking:
- 16 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before training or engaging in other high-intensity activities
- Approximately 8 ounces of water 10 to 20 minutes before your workout
- Water as needed throughout the training session to replace fluids lost via sweat or urination
- As much water as necessary after exercise to replenish the total fluids lost
Pairing One-on-One Sessions With Proper Hydration Can Help Improve Physiotherapy Outcomes
At SPARK Physiotherapy, our highly trained sports fitness physical therapy professionals, led by Dr. Carlos J. Berio, provide personal attention and support for every patient. We empower you with techniques to help reduce your pain, improve performance, and reach your athletic or fitness goals. Staying hydrated can increase what we can help you accomplish.