If you’ve noticed or not, this thing called water is pretty important. As in mandatory. As in mission-critical. As in you die if you don’t have any for a few days. And we’re not just talking about when you exercise. We mean in order to live. Period.
To which you say, Well, duh. I already carry around an aluminum water bottle. I get plenty of the stuff.
You might be drinking here and there, but there’s a big difference between not dehydrated and optimally hydrated. Think of it this way: it’s the difference between having money and having enough money to travel around the world at a moment's notice.
Sufficient and optimal are miles apart when it comes to water: you might not be dehydrated, but you’re probably not getting all the benefits you would if you drank the proper amount of water. Silly, really, because the stuff literally falls from the sky. At the minimum, research suggests you should drink 6oz of water for every 10 lbs of body weight. (i.e. 120 lbs = 72oz, 200 lbs = 120oz) How do you know if you’re drinking enough? Your urine should be clear to light yellow, like a lager beer. If it starts to look like ale or stout, you’re in trouble.
Pro tip: Set the clock on your phone to chime every hour on the hour during the day. When it does, drink a cup of water. All-star pro tip: do ten air squats, sit ups or pushups, too. You’ll get ripped right quick and begin developing a healthy habit.
So why is water so important? A multitude of reasons, really, but here are a few key benefits of being optimally hydrated, in no particular order:
- Water can stave off aging by fighting oxidative processes: your skin will look better if you drink enough.
- You will recover faster and more completely if you drink sufficient amounts of water.
- All of your vital organs work better when they have enough water, especially your brain, kidney and liver.
- Life as we know it cannot exist without water—the average human body is 60% water, which means a 150 pound person contains about 11 gallons of water.
- Water can aid endurance and athletic performance.
- Water is essential to good gut health and proper digestion.
All of this is made doubly important if you exercise. You can lose as much as 20 ounces of water through sweat and panting during a 45-minute Myx Fitness class. Sweat is one way the body cools itself, and you will definitely heat up during one of our workouts. You’ll tire more quickly if you’re not hydrated, so plan to drink at least two 16-ounce bottles of water during a Myx session, and keep drinking afterward. And remember: all this is on top of your basic requirements described.
Of course, when you sweat, you don’t just lose water, you also lose electrolytes, a fancy name for essential minerals like salt and potassium. Proper electrolyte levels keep muscles working properly, nerves firing on all cylinders and—in an exciting twist—help the body absorb water more efficiently. Sports drinks, even homemade ones, should contain some electrolytes, but be careful what you choose because some commercial drinks are calorie and/or sugar bombs.
AND...don’t stop drinking after the workout is over.
If you’ve ever had a training session or workout where you felt sluggish, slow and crappy even if you ate and slept well, there’s a chance that sub-optimal hydration was the cause of this feeling. Improper water intake can lead to cortisol-dominance, poor muscle recovery and even poor blood quality. These all add up to one thing: poor exercise recovery.
That sluggish feeling also probably has something to do with the fact that your brain is one of the body’s biggest consumers of water in the body. Try drinking water as well as coffee – your brain benefits from both!