There’s so much confusion in the world already, so we are trying to help by resolving one of the biggest confusions — if we should drink water right after our workouts or not. It’s no secret that water is essential for our body to function and save it from going kaput. According to the Mayo Clinic, a daily intake of 9-12 cups of water is mandatory (1). And on an average, a person loses about 2-8 cups of water by sweating alone (depends on your workout and lifestyle), so if you haven’t deduced it yet, let’s break it down for you — drinking water post-workouts is absolutely imperative.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it is highly recommended to drink fluids 2 hours prior to exercising (2). It is important to drink water early on, and then continue taking sips of water through the workouts. A simple brisk walk in warm weather can make us lose a pound of water. This loss occurs as the body tries to bounce back to its normal temperature. In order to compensate for this loss, we need to drink enough water after any physical activity that leads to sweating.
Here’s a list of things that can go wrong if you give the colorless liquid a miss!
1. You Will Be Bogged Down By Bad Mood
Research has found that with a decreased level of water consumption, a person’s mood can really swing south (3). Engaging in physical activities without drinking enough water leads to dehydration. Because of a lack of water, the transport of oxygenated blood in the body, too, slows down. Studies prove that such dehydration leads to fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, and can cause momentary or prolonged anxiety and depression (4).
2. Muscle Cramps Can Get Nasty
There’s a reason why the trainers at your gym and the fitness nazis ask you to ensure taking long, deep breaths while working out. They also ask you to sip some fluids periodically. This is because water helps in regulating a balance between essential minerals like sodium and potassium that take care of intercellular fluid movement in the body. The loss of water due to sweating leads to a reduced supply and hence, causes the muscles to cramp. So, the next time you experience a sudden calf spasm or a shoulder cramp while working out, take the hint, friend. Your body is asking for hydration.
3. Stagnant Weight Loss And Bloating
If you think drinking too much water alone can lead to water retention, you are wrong. When you deprive your body of water too, it leads to fluid retention because of insufficient water. To quench your thirst, you might consider other unhealthy or sweetened options that adversely affect your health and can become a roadblock in your fitness journey. So, if you’re parting your way with water post a sweaty afternoon at the Pilates class, you know that class was pretty much a waste.
4. You Are Inviting Wrinkled Skin
We know that there’s no fountain of youth, but we can at least try defeating those wrinkles until the days of sunset draw near. No moisturizer works for your skin like water does. Creases can be ironed out easily when on clothes. But folds, creases, and ridges on the skin can only be prevented by drinking enough water – there’s no easy way back once the skin starts showing the effects of dehydration! Water adds volume to our skin and hydrates it from within, thereby protecting it from looking lifeless and dull. When there is a dearth of water, the collagen in the skin cracks, thus giving birth to wrinkles. It sounds scary, right? We hope you just downed a bottle of water, cause we did.
5. Becoming Prone To Injuries And Weakness
If you haven’t already googled your symptoms and assessed your body pain as a chronic illness that can take your life away in no time, congratulations, you have been saved by Dr. Google’s dreadful assessment. Usually, when the body’s demand for water is not proportional to the supply, it reacts through weakness and fatigue. When there is not enough water, the lubrication and cushioning decreases in joints and this can lead to injuries. This can be dangerous when you’re trying to lift weights or engaging in high-intensity workouts. Sometimes, this can lead to hyperthermia or hypothermia.
6. Your Heart Gets Worked Up
A lack of sufficient fluid in the body can create a chaos in the physiological functions. When the body senses that there isn’t enough fluid, the blood vessels contract to save any loss of fluid. This becomes a burden on the circulatory system as the heart needs to put out extra work to pump thick blood through narrow walls. The nervous system and the circulatory system hold on to the available sodium and water in the body and increase the blood pressure, thus resulting in an increased heart rate.
7. False Hunger Alarms
Dehydration is a tricky lad. We need to take the right hints, else we end up making mistakes. When dehydrated, the first mistake we make is to confuse our thirst to be hunger. And we end up eating tons of food, usually unhealthy, that leaves us feeling over-stuffed and full. When in doubt, sip some water. If the hunger persists, go ahead and grab that meal, but don’t get to gluttony.
So, now we know that denying our body its rightful consumption of water can lead to some ugly health concerns that unlike many life problems, cannot be solved with a hearty bottle of wine. How do you manage your water intake? Let us know in the comments below!
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