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The advice to drink enough water on a daily basis is a common one from nutritionists and fitness coaches. This recommendation is especially important for athletes and anyone engaging in constant and strenuous physical activity. The majority of the weight of the human body is made up of water. Even muscles, which are often thought of as solid mass, consist of water to the tune of over 70% of their weight,
The Consequences of Low Water Intake
When athletes do not drink enough water, negative processes take place in the body. An athlete loses water through a variety of ways. Intense athletic activity leads to an overheated body and excessive perspiration. Add to that the regular loss of water through breathing and elimination and the end result is a body that is dehydrated and needs continuous fluid replenishment. A dehydrated athlete can suffer from both physical exhaustion and mental fatigue. Additionally, when the body is dehydrated, blood volume is decreased, leading to the slowing down of the sweating and cooling mechanism.
Determining How Much Water to Drink
There is no set advice that fits every athlete when it comes to the subject of hydration. Many factors come into play. The intensity of the daily activity, the length of physical exertion, the heat of the environment and a person’s own fluid reserves all play a role in determining how much water a particular athlete should drink.
The thirst mechanism should be heeded. If an athlete is feeling thirsty often, he is not drinking enough water. Ideally, athletes should drink before and during their workouts, and immediately after exercising.