Now that we’re a good month into the New Year we can start to have some realistic perspective on our 2020 fitness goals. Have you been making time for the gym? Has your favorite class started to thin out? Are you able to set aside time for the head-clearing catharsis that is a gym visit? We hope so. We’re happy to report that we’re still hanging in there, because we are better folks when we can reach our target heart rate a few times a week.
But, in all of the busyness of the new year, we have to admit our water game has suffered a bit (and in the dead of winter when the cold zaps all of our moisture, we should know better!). Last week, in a hot vinyasa class the sweat was real. And post-yoga headaches are a sort of anathema to yoga itself. In an effort to avoid that earsplitting pain again, here’s a quick reminder of the fitness benefits of regular water consumption.
Water is how our body regulates its internal temperature. Whenever we work up a sweat, we’re instigating our body’s natural cool-down method. And post-workout headaches often develop from dehydration. If you’re sweating more than usual (which we do anytime we hit the gym) you have to replace that lost water by drinking plenty of it. Be sure to keep your water bottle at the ready anytime you work out.
Just thinking about a foot cramp makes us cringe. They sneak up on you and are vicious in their assault. Staying hydrated helps prevent muscle cramping. It also lubricates your joints and can improve the strength of your muscles. Water is responsible for bringing oxygen to the cells of your body, including the cells in your muscles. If your muscles are well-oxygenated they can work longer and thus, they will get stronger.
Nowadays you hear it all of the time, especially while working out: your body needs to get rid of toxins. But what are these toxins? Generally speaking, all of the bodily waste filtered out by your liver and kidneys – your detoxifying organs. But before your liver and kidneys help flush out these waste products, they must be transported via bodily fluid (aka mostly water) to your liver and kidneys for removal. Thus, if you are dehydrated, your body will have a harder time transporting waste and these toxins will remain in your body longer, putting you at an increased risk for kidney stones and the dreaded UTI.
And let’s not forget that drinking water also helps you stay leaner since often our bodies confuse hunger and thirst – when your body is beginning to feel dehydrated it will want to take water from any source it can get, including food. Next time you think you’re famished at an unexpected hour, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes.
Stay well, stay hydrated!