How Dehydration Impacts Your Workout


How Dehydration Impacts Your Workout

Dehydration is when your body fluid falls below the optimum level. It occurs when your water intake is low, so you lose more water than your water intake. When this happens, your body doesn’t have enough water to carry out the functions normally.

Staying hydrated during exercise

For the most part, good old plain water is considered the best fluid to stay hydrated for normal, active adults. If you’re just running on a treadmill or similar low-impact aerobics and cardio exercises, it’s likely enough to follow the general guidelines of drinking around 11 ~ 15 cups of water per day.

If you work out rigorously for more than one hour regularly, or if you work out in extremely hot and humid weather conditions, it is better to consume sports drinks that replenish electrolytes for better hydration. When you sweat, you lose important minerals (iron, potassium, zinc, etc) that help regulate body functions.

Energy drinks are not often considered very beneficial to exercise. The high amounts of caffeine may give a burst of energy, but they can also be loaded with sugars, carbs, and additives you don’t want. However not all energy drinks are made the same, so you can read more on energy drinks here for more information on different energy drink brands and ingredients.

Symptoms of dehydration

The immediate known symptom of dehydration is a parched throat feeling. In other words, you feel thirsty. However, this is a delayed symptom of dehydration. As a rule of thumb, by the time you feel thirsty, you’ve likely already lost 1 – 2% of your body water.

Most people will drink when they’re feeling thirsty, but to stay properly hydrated, you should never allow yourself to reach the point of thirst in the first place!

When your dehydration becomes more severe, past the point of thirst, the more severe symptoms include lightheadedness, trouble concentrating, dizziness, sleepiness and lack of energy,  and if you’ve recently exercised, you can experience heightened levels of muscle pain and soreness.

How does dehydration affect your workout?

Dehydration causes you to feel tired and it impacts your workout majorly. When you are dehydrated your body doesn’t regulate heat efficiently. This makes you feel more tired while working out.

During exercise, you may know that motor control and concentration is absolutely necessary, especially when doing repetitive movements. Dehydration can affect these two functions majorly as well. Basically, the cells in our body rely on water and fluids to synthesize energy.

This energy is called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The cells can only store minimum ATP in them. So, they constantly synthesize ATP with the help of water. This whole process gets complicated if you are dehydrated. This means you will not be able to generate energy for your tough workout sessions if you are dehydrated.

Furthermore, dehydration also affects the fat loss process. It has been discovered that people who are obese and have a higher body mass index are generally dehydrated.

This shows a connection between fat gain and dehydration. Also, if you are dieting and working out simultaneously to lose fat effectively and rapidly, you need to maximize your water intake. It has been proven to give tremendous results. 

The impact of dehydration on post-workout

Researches have shown that if the cell loses water, it slows down the protein production and speeds up the protein breakdown. In simple words, it means that dehydration impacts muscle gain negatively. 

Also, several types of research by Chicago State University have found that a dehydration level of 2.9% of body mass affects the strength of the body majorly. Not only does it affect the upper body strength but the lower body strength as well.

It has been discovered that dehydration results in a 1.5% loss of body mass which further results in decreased strength. This means that if you are dehydrated you will not be able to go for maximum reps while working out. 

In addition to the problems mentioned above, another major problem caused by dehydration is an elevated heart rate. You may feel your heartbeat getting abnormally faster on a workout that isn’t even so intense.

This happens because when you are dehydrated, your body doesn’t get enough fluid to keep up the blood volume normal. The blood volume drives the pressure. So, when you are dehydrated, it gets harder for your heart to pump the blood. 

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