The sad fact is, that pretty much everyone underestimates just how vital water is to the body. Everyone knows that they need it. Everyone has an idea of how much that it should be, but do people really know why? Well, put it this way, every single organism needs water to survive. Human beings are made up of 60% water, the brain itself is 95% water, the blood around 82% and the lungs are close to 90%.
This lack of knowledge isn’t just everyday gym goers; this is professional athletes we are talking about. This is quite alarming considering water is the single most important nutrient we need in the body. Keep reading for more than enough reasons to make water intake a priority through out the day.
First, and surely the most important that without water, you will die. The body can survive without food for three weeks, whereas without water you won’t make it a week.
Water is wonderful for lifting your spirits. Even mild dehydration can put you in a bad mood. Feeling refreshed makes you feel better, healthier and happier.
Various studies have shown that by staying hydrated you can reduce the risks of certain cancers, including colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%.
Better Brain Function
As little as a 2% drop in water levels can cause shrinkage of the brain. This in turn effects neuromuscular coordination and reaction times. Why is this important? Well, when you’re in the cage a split second difference could mean the difference between a counter strike and getting knocked out.
Being well hydrated is the key to better athletic performance. Your muscle tissue is made up of around 75% water. Starving the muscles of this water can cause an electrolyte imbalance leading to weakness, fatigue and light headiness.
Eases Joint Pain
Most MMA athletes are friends with glucosamine because of the wonders it does to the joints. Well, glucosamine works by helping cartilage absorb water, so without water going into the body the glucosamine will have nothing to help with.
-Studies have made links with lower coronary heart disease and water consumption. Likewise, different studies have also shown that the risk of coronary heart disease is higher when individuals consume more sodas and energy drinks, than water.
Water is very important in metabolising of food. This In turn prevents constipation and ensures the nutrients are properly utilized in the body.
Aids in Weight Loss
Many people confuse the feeling of being thirsty, with the feeling of being hungry. This causes people to overeat. Staying adequately hydrated prevents over eating.
Improved Recovery Times
Everyone wants to get back into the gym quicker. During exercise the body loses electrolytes through sweating, imbalances in these electrolytes can then cause fatigue, cramps and nausea. Keeping well hydrated during tough gym sessions helps with this dramatically.
One of the main causes of headaches is dehydration. Next time you begin to feel the signs of a headache looming, reach for your bottle of water.
Make you look better
The skin is the largest organ in the body. Keeping water consumption frequent aids new cell growth in the skin. This can improve the health of your skin, prevent dry patches and spots.
Regulate Your Temperature
Not only will drinking water get your skin glowing it will also help it control your bodies temperature through sweating.
Boost of Energy
One of the first signs of dehydration is feeling lethargic. Drinking water will perk you up and get you on the mats.
When dehydration creeps in, your body immediately begins to go into survival mode. This means your body will begin to hold onto every bit of liquid it can, even in places outside of the cells, resulting in that swollen look. Constant hydration gives your body no reason to resort to this, keeping you looking lean.
So next time you are feeling thirsty, be aware, chances are you are already showing signs of dehydration.
So how much water should you intake?
It’s been suggested for a long time that 8-10 cups of water a day is enough. While this is a ballpark figure, for the average non gym goer this is probably enough.
With all the training involved in becoming a well rounded MMA athlete, water intake will need to be considerably higher to counteract the sweat lost during training. This figure can be as high as ½ gallon lost in one session and that’s in a mild climate!
A very rough rule of thumb is to make sure you are drinking half your bodyweight in pounds in fluid ounces. For example a 200lb individual will be drinking 100oz of water each day. This may increase depending on how tough your training is for that day.
The best piece of advice for maintaining a well hydrated body is to make sure you carry around a bottle of water with you at all times and inspect your pee… the clearer the better!
Parting Words of Warning
It is possible to drink too much water. This is extremely rare, but something that everyone should be aware of.
Excessive water consumption is called hyponatremia and generally caused when an individual drinks far too much in a short space of time. This rapid increase in water in the body causes the sodium levels to become diluted, causing water to log in the body and the brain.
This is extremely rare, so it is not something to worry about and something that is easily preventable by consuming water throughout the day, rather than all at once.