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How does water improve exercise?

We’ve previously written about why you should incorporate more water into your daily lifestyle, and now we’d like to talk about why it’s essential to drink water while you exercise. 

Water is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle; some benefits include clearer skin, better digestion, organ and tissue protection, and more. But what benefits does it have to our workouts?

How drinking water improves exercise

While there are plenty of advantages of consuming plenty of water throughout the day, not drinking enough water during your workout will result in:

  • Your heart rate and body temperature increasing -  this is even more of a problem if the water in your body falls below normal levels, as it won’t regulate heat properly.

  • You won’t function as quickly - by this, we mean your bodily functions, which can leave you feeling uncomfortable in your stomach. 

  • Feeling more fatigued - which may result in you stopping early and not enjoying your exercise as much. When you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, the chances of you giving up and quitting the gym rise. 

  • Your motor control might not be as good - yup, you read that right. More than that, your concentration might not be up to par, neither of which are great for exercise.

  • Your gym performance won’t be as good - and your progress may be slower. This can easily leave you feeling frustrated, which is not how you want to feel on your way home. You should feel accomplished and proud. 

That’s a lot of impact from something as simple as water, huh?

Is it OK to drink water during a workout?

OK? It’s highly recommended. While water is the best option, you can drink anything that will help you stay hydrated, such as sports drinks; but beware of the amount of sugar and calories they have.

There are some drinks that you want to avoid consuming while you workout, these include:

  • Soft drinks.

  • Juice.

  • Caffeine.

How much water should you drink during exercise?

To reap as many benefits from the sweet nectar that is water as possible, the general rule of thumb from the American Council on Exercise is to drink:

  • Between half a litre to 0.9 litres of water approximately two to three hours prior to exercising.

  • Around 0.2 litres, twenty to thirty minutes directly before you begin exercising.

  • 0.2 to 0.3 litres of water every ten to twenty minutes during your workout.

So, you’ll be consuming approximately one to one and a half litres before and during your routine.

Remember that this is a generalisation, though. It will differ based on your gender and weight, and some health conditions may also impact the amount you should drink, so we recommend speaking with your doctor first. 

How much water should you drink after exercise?

Just as hydrating before and during exercise is important, so too is properly hydrating after your workout is complete. Even though your training is over, you’ll continue to dehydrate as you sweat and visit the bathroom. 

As a general rule, you can aim to drink a quarter of a litre to rehydrate, but if you want to get into specifics, you should aim to replace one and a half the amount of water you’ll have lost through exercise. Span this over two to six hours.

Does water make you gain weight?

This is a common concern that puts many people off drinking water, but the opposite is true. Consuming water can increase the number of calories you burn. For example, studies have shown that drinking half a litre of water can help you burn an extra 23 calories.

Have we convinced you to fill a water bottle and bring it to the gym with you? Whether you’re attending a fitness class or working out solo at your local 24/7 gym, if you want to perform better and burn off more calories, you should.