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Hydration and Performance

Making sure you are drinking enough water is worth paying attention to. We’re outlining why hydration is so important.

The benefits of adequate hydration:

You’ll live more comfortably for longer, maybe.

You’ll reduce your risk of the following diseases:

  • Functional constipation
  • Headache
  • Orthostatic hypotension (Light-headedness)
  • Delirium
  • Cerebral infarct (Stroke)
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Obesity

You’ll lose fat and inches.

Studies show that drinking more water, and drinking water instead of caloric beverages result in a weight loss of, on average, 3kgs over a 2 month period. What was interesting with that study was that the participants were on 4 very different, well-known diets and all showed similar results. Water was more important than dietary specifics.

Obviously drinking water instead of fruit juice/cold drink/other caloric beverage) lowers total energy intake (fewer calories coming in), which helps with fat loss. Drinking water below body temperature is also associated with increased energy expenditure (more calories burned) and a faster rate of fats being broken down.

Just by drinking enough water, you can lose kilos of fat. 

You’ll focus better, remember better & think quicker.

Hydration has a measurable impact on the following cognitive functions:

  • Alertness
  • Attention
  • Concentration
  • Short and Long Term Memory
  • Arithmetic Ability & Efficiency
  • Memory
  • Perceptual discrimination
  • Question response time

You’ll be more motivated and calmer. 

Emotional experiences impacted by hydration level:

  • Feelings of fatigue.
  • Feelings of motivation and engagement.
  • Irritability
  • Quickness to Anger
  • Clarity/confusion

There seems to be a direct relationship between dopamine and dehydration, which has an impact on how hard we chase rewards, and how good we feel when we get them.

You’ll work out harder, easier.

Your body is affected by hydration in the following ways:

  • Exercising dehydrated causes your heart to work harder, which increases perceived effort, which limits your workout capacity.
  • It also leads to a rise in body temperature, making working out even more difficult.
  • And being dehydrated will limit maximal oxygen uptake, anaerobic power output and physical work capacity.

Drinking water during exercise can ease the strain of fatigue and enable you to get more work done. You’ll burn through more calories, easier. 

How much is “dehydrated”? 

This study by Molly Hodges goes into detail about the effects of dehydration on cognitive functioning, mood, and physical performance. The critical number seems to be 2% of body weightDecrements in physical, visuomotor, psychomotor, and cognitive performance can occur when 2%or more of body weight is lost. That means that if you weigh 80kg, and you are dehydrated down 1.6kg of body mass, you will see and feel measurable negative effects in how you think, feel, and move.

How much is too much? 

Overhydration is not pleasant either. Symptoms include confusion, headaches, nausea and bloating, lethargy etc. While much less common, just bear in mind that balance is vital (as always).

The “Goldilocks zone” (not too much, not too little) of hydration seems to be 2 – 3 litres of water per day, depending on how big you are, how hot it is, and how hard you are working out.

Here’s one quick tip to help you get enough water in. Drink a large glass of water before each meal. Easy as that, no excuses!

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