CrossFit South Rockland

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hydration and Performance

One of the most overlooked nutrient is water. Maintaining good hydration is critical to health and exercise performance. Preventing occurrence of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, constipation, hypertension, gallstones can helped by taking in adequate amounts of water. Performances in anything we do, from the shake weight to burpees, are affected by amount of water intake. As little as 3% loss in body weight due to exercise or heat exposure, results in decreases in cognitive functions such as concentration, performance/coordination, short-term memory, alertness. Furthermore, endurance power is affected at over 3% loss and decreases in strength and power occur around 7%. If we are already in a dehydrated state, then we will reach this numbers quicker. Our performance will suffer. Let’s prevent this from happening to you.

Our bodies are comprised of about 60-70% water. The more physically fit we become the greater percentage of our body weight is water, increasing its importance. Information on the best way to maintain good hydration is inconsistent to say the least. Not even the experts can agree nor come up with good ways to measure hydration states for individuals. Some of the ways to maintain proper water balance is to drink 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water per day or monitor the color of your urine where a light yellow tinge is ideal. The one I like is where we take ½ body weight and drink that amount in ounces of water throughout the day, and if we exercise just add 16 oz per hour. I like this method because it individualizes water consumption and is not too difficult to keep track of your needs.

For instance, if my weight is 160lbs, I would calculate it as follows:

160/2 = 80 lbs à 80 oz. or 10 glasses of 8oz of water.

Now, if we exercise for 60 minutes

80 oz. + 16 oz = 96 oz. or 12 glasses of 8oz of water.

I know that sounds like a lot of water. It shocked me when I first did the calculation for myself. When I first did my calculation, I thought I was going to have to drink a ton of water. But, what I found is my perception of portion size was off, really off. I decided to take my usual drinking glass and put 8 ounces of water in it. I found that my glass was 16 ounces. Most cups and glasses we drink out of are 12 to 20 ounces or more. If we take the example above and use a 16 ounce glass, we find that the number of glasses is about 6 per day instead of 12. This is a little more reasonable. Do not weight yourself every day. But if you are seeing a large fluctuation in your weight, then recalculate. Be smart about it. Remember, if you already feel thirsty, then you are already in a dehydrated state. Whatever method you choose to use, maintaining hydration is vital to health and your fitness goals.

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