How Much Water Should You Drink to Power Your Summer Workouts?
Whether you're planning a road trip with friends, drinking margaritas in your backyard, or getting your tan on at the beach in 100 degree heat, now that summer is officially upon us, it's safe to assume that most of our activities will be done in the sun.
And while spending time outdoors is the perfect summer diversion, making sure you stay adequately hydrated is just as important as applying your SPF 50.
Drinking a few glasses of water a day can greatly improve your overall health and prevent you from slowing down when you're having fun.
To help us better understand the benefits of H20, we've sought the help of Dr. Marina Jampolis, a physician, nutrition specialist and the author of The Doctor on Demand Diet, as well as Reebok Trainer Steve Barrett.
Together, they've broken down why hydration is necessary, what it does for our health, and how it positively impacts our workouts.
The importance of hydration during workouts
When it's hot, you sweat. This is a given.
But according to Barrett, when you don't fuel up during workouts, loss of water from your body can alter your performance.
"Being correctly hydrated before and during a workout is really a make-or-break situation," says Barrett. "A 2% drop in body water can affect the function of your brain. So no matter how motivated you are to exercise, you won't be able to perform to your fullest potential."
Similarly, Jampolis says that ingesting plenty of water will elevate your workout. Without it, you face some risks.
"Staying hydrated is critical during workouts," says Jampolis, "as dehydration can significantly impair performance, cause muscle cramps, increase risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and can adversely affect brain function including changes in attention, visual-motor skills, memory and mood."
The benefits of H2O
When we do take the time to quench our thirst, water not only helps our insides but also improves the health of our skin.
"Water keeps your skin looking plump and hydrated," says Jampolis, "which makes you look younger and less wrinkled."
"It also keeps your kidneys functioning properly so they filter and excrete toxins."
The perfect amount of water
According to Jampolis, the amount of water you drink during workouts depends on several factors: your body size, climate, the amount of activity you do in a day, and the number of fruits and vegetables you consume.
"Individual daily requirements of water vary considerably," says Jampolis, "especially with outdoor exercise on hot summer days. In general, a healthful diet rich in fruits and vegetables will provide about one liter of water per day from food. And in addition, you should aim for drinking about half your body weight in fluid ounces."
Like Jampolis, Barrett says regular water intake is vital. But he also feels that rationing the amount of water you drink throughout the day is the most important part of working out.
"If you treat water as a healthy habit," says Barrett, "then it's much better to trickle the fluids into your system all day rather than flood it pre-workout. Make sure to drink often."
All signs point to ...
While you might think skipping that glass of water in the morning won't be a big deal, guess again.
"Water is either a catalyst to help the body perform a task or it plays a mechanical part in a process," says Barrett. "A lack of fluids can cause bloating and while it's not lethal, perpetual dehydration is sometimes associated with the development of kidney stones and also urinary tract infections."
In addition to understanding how water helps our health, it's also important to know when our bodies need a drink.
"It's important to stay adequately hydrated," says Jampolis, "but what's even more important is being mindful of the signals your body gives when it needs water. All too often we ignore the signals our bodies send to us. But if we stay alert, then we might prevent our bodies from becoming overheated."