We all take drinking water for granted, but staying hydrated throughout the entire day is crucial for maintaining good health, while being dehydrated can negatively affect everything from your heart health and physical performance to your mental clarity and mood. Despite this, many people fail to consume the recommended amounts of water each day. Check out these 5 ways in which staying hydrated can optimize your health and help you build more muscle.
Water is the single most critical nutrient for overall health, growth and development, so it’s no wonder that even a slight but chronic state of dehydration can impair your vitality, gym performance and muscle gains. Not only is water needed to properly metabolize food and transport waste out of the body, but is also helps form the structures of protein and glycogen. In fact, your muscles are primarily made of water and a lack of it may prevent them from properly contracting, which definitely won’t help you make stellar gains in the gym.
Furthermore, when muscles become dehydrated, they also become vulnerable to cramps, which are muscle spasms involving an abnormal muscular contraction. Keeping your body constantly hydrated will help you prevent spasms, improve the strength of your muscle contractions and increase muscle response, thereby enabling you to get the most out of your workouts.
#1. Kidney Health
Every day, your kidneys process a lot of the waste from your body, and water is essential to their optimal functioning. When these vital organs don’t work properly, waste products and excess fluid can build up inside the body and cause a plethora of health issues. Also, dehydration is one of the leading causes of kidney stones.
Drinking the daily recommended amount of water is one of the best ways to improve the work of your kidneys, which in turns helps you eliminate waste and toxins more efficiently. It’s also one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of developing urinary tract infections, which can spread to the kidneys and cause permanent, even life-threatening damage.
#2. Blood Pressure Control
When you don’t drink enough water, your body will react by retaining sodium and sending a signal to the pituitary gland to secrete vasopressin (a chemical that causes constriction of the blood vessels), resulting with elevated blood pressure.
Then, if the dehydration is chronic, the body will gradually shut down some areas of the capillary network, increasing the pressure placed on the arteries and contributing to a further rise in blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure, make it a commitment to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water every day. As keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles, this can really help you improve your blood pressure control and protect your heart health.
#3. Muscle Performance
According to scientific results, being only slightly and unnoticeably dehydrated can reduce your overall gym performance by up to 20%, which is something definitely worth considering! Water is responsible for transporting nutrients to every cell and cleansing the body of lactic acid, and when you’re dehydrated, those and many more critical processes are slowed down.
Your workouts become too challenging, your energy levels are low and you seem unable to get a decent pump no matter what you do. This is because when the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the muscles cells is impaired, your muscles can’t fire properly or fatigue too quickly. According to the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine, you should drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise, and then make sure to stay hydrated during the workout, drinking water at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
#4. Fat Loss
During the last decade, studies have repeatedly found that drinking enough water is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Most recently, a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine reported that the less hydrated people are, the more likely they are to have a higher body mass index. Staying hydrated is good for you no matter what, since the dehydrated body is essentially in a state of crisis.
But for those of you who struggle with excess weight, it’s important to realize that even mild or moderate levels of dehydration can prevent fat loss. In fact, dehydration can even contribute to fat gain, because of the tendency of the body to store toxins in fat cells and the fat cells’ ability to expand. Furthermore, research has shown that drinking water can help increase your feeling of satiety and help you combat both cravings and overall hunger more easily, as well as reduce overeating.
#5. Muscle Recovery
If you make sure to drink plenty of water before and during exercise, your body will be able to transport and assimilate nutrients and flush out toxins more efficiently. This will improve your ability to perform, grow and recover. Water plays an important role in both muscle repair and growth, since it’s crucial for protein synthesis.
If your muscle cells don’t have enough water in them, protein synthesis can be delayed and your body will need more time to repair damaged muscle tissue or it might even jumpstart catabolism. In addition, studies have linked dehydration to delayed onset muscle soreness, or muscle pain that occurs 12-24 hours post exercise. According to exercise scientists, slight to moderate dehydration can significantly increase the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness.
Remember that hydration isn’t important only on training days and make sure to regularly drink water throughout the day, regardless of whether you engage in physical activity or not. That might turn out to one of the healthiest health decisions you will ever make!