As dancers we train hard and we compete hard. And sometimes in the heat of the competition it's easy to let a thing like hydration slip. Melanie Bussiere of New Again Fitness has written an excellent article on the subject so this month we're sharing her advice on why it's important to stay hydrated.
The importance of hydration cannot be overstated, but it can be understood. To appreciate the role of water and hydration in the body, and in order to make sure you are properly hydrated, it helps to know the nature of water and its chemical properties. Water is a great medium for bodily processes because water allows chemical reactions to occur. Many times, water participates directly in the reactions, such as when acting as a solvent to move minerals around the body, or waste products out of the body. However, when thinking about fitness, we may think about water mostly in terms of body temperature regulation.
Almost all the energy we use and produce leaves the body in the form of heat. Even passively, about 60% of the chemical energy we process from food is turned directly into body heat. This energy is always being created and shed, and while it may take a lot of energy to persistently heat our bodies, it doesn’t take a lot for our body and body tissues to get overheated. Water molecules form strong and tight bonds together, which require and release a lot of energy when breaking apart from a liquid to gaseous state. This makes water ideal for conducting and transferring heat as it evaporates out and off the body though perspiration.
The amount of water you need on a constant basis and to replace the water used during exercise is going to vary depending on a variety of variables like body shape, environment, and the type of clothes and equipment that you may use. During an hour of exercise, a body can lose 800-1400 ml of water through perspiration. However, participants in an environmentally controlled study found that exercising in high-humidity environments lead to their rate of perspiration increasing by 15% (Nacimento 2018).
Along with the water that we get from the food we eat, some health organizations recommend drinking 2.5-3 liters of water a day, throughout the day. This has remained as a reasonable guideline for years, but due to the varying influences that determine a person’s water needs making sure you are drinking water throughout the day to avoid thirst (as thirst is already a sign of dehydration) may be a more reliable method of staying hydrated.
Water isn’t the only thing lost during perspiration. Just as water moves minerals around the body, minerals also move water around the body. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, magnesium, and calcium are positively charged and attract water between and around cell walls. The amount of electrolytes lost are small, but important, so eating a mineral-rich food, like a banana or potato to refuel on potassium is a good inclusion to after-workout care.
Remember that while you may be able to mentally ignore thirst, your body will not. Once your body receives the signal that you are thirsty, you will begin to conserve water in order to maintain your body temperature and fluid level in the bloodstream. A loss of only 1% of our body weight in water can make you feel tired or light-headed, an early sign of dehydration. A loss of 4% of our body weight or more can lead to a loss of strength and endurance. A loss of heat tolerance and weakness follow at 10%, with more drastic conditions at furthur levels of dehydration. This is all due to the lack of bio-available water to aid in the body’s important chemical reactions.
Article used with permission. Originally written and posted 27 September 2019 on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NewAgainFitness/
Melanie Bussiere is CPR A, C and AED certified and is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA, and a Sports Nutrition Specialist. She is currently completing full certification in Trigger Point Therapy. She and her husband Lionel Doonan are professional ballroom competitors and teachers.
New Again Fitness trains clients for weight loss, muscle toning and strength, and improved mobility. They help clients prepare for and recover from hip and knee surgeries. They also address everyday aches and pains and ensure their clients leave pain free! They help prepare your body for the stresses of everyday life, work, and sport. They train amateur and leisure sports enthusiasts as well as top ranked competitors in ballroom. For more information, please visit their website: https://newagainfitness.com/