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How Staying Hydrated Can Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals

Hydration offers many well-known health benefits, such as regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, and protecting the spinal cord and sensitive tissues in the body, but there are a few benefits that often get overlooked.

01/21/2024 | Coaching Tips, Nutrition

Why Water is Important

Hydration offers many well-known health benefits, such as regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, and protecting the spinal cord and sensitive tissues in the body (“Healthier Drinks,” 2022), but there are a few benefits that often get overlooked. Proper hydration can have profound effects on people trying to lose weight!

How Drinking Water Helps With Weight Loss

The amount of water you drink can greatly affect your weight loss journey. Drinking just half a liter (17 ounces) of water before each meal has been shown to lead to significant weight loss over a 12-week period. Why? Because
1. Drinking water makes you less hungry before eating a meal and stops cravings (Bjarnadottir, 2023).
2. Water has zero calories. You can drink as much as you want, guilt-free!
3. Being adequately hydrated gives you energy and flushes out toxins so you can optimize your exercise sessions.
4. Being hydrated can increase your metabolism by 3-4%, which helps burn even more calories (Leech, 2023).

How Dehydration Hurts Weight Loss

Dehydration can be a roadblock to your weight loss efforts. When dehydrated, your body has a much harder time burning fat. Additionally, your digestive system becomes less efficient and your energy levels drop (“Drinking More Water,” 2020). None of this is good if you want to lose weight.

The National Health Service of the United Kingdom lists signs of dehydration including, feeling thirsty, dark, strong-smelling, or infrequent urination, dry lips, eye bags, headache, or lightheadedness (NHS, 2022). If you notice any of these signs, you are probably dehydrated and should try to rehydrate. Another easy test is to pinch the skin on your hand. If the skin stays up or takes a while to bounce back, that is another good sign that you are dehydrated.

What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are elements that conduct electrical pulses in your body to aid in functions such as muscle contractions, chemical functions, and fluid balances inside cells (“Electrolytes,” 2021). There are many types of electrolytes. Your local grocery store probably has hundreds of electrolyte drinks and powders for sale, but if you are low on electrolytes after sweating from exercise, you can easily incorporate electrolytes into your day by adding a pinch of salt to your glass of water. Of course, sodium in high quantities can dehydrate you, but a little pinch in a glass of water can actually help (Millard, 2022).

Be Careful of Sports Drinks

As mentioned before, there are hundreds of electrolyte drinks and powders for sale, but you must be careful. Many of these drinks contain high amounts of sugar. For example, a common sports drink that advertises its performance boost from electrolytes contains 36 grams of sugar! Every 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 tablespoon of sugar. That means that a drink with 36 grams of sugar contains 8.5 tablespoons of sugar. Putting 8.5 tablespoons of sugar into your coffee would be crazy, but people do it every day with sports drinks.

Strategies for Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated is harder than you might think. By the time you’re thirsty, it’s too late. Estimates by Lay Press Medicine say that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated (as cited in Taylor & Jones, 2022). So, what are some easy ways to stay hydrated?
1. Add calorie-free flavoring to make it taste good.
2. Drink lemon water in the morning to flush out toxins.
3. Drink a tall glass of water before each meal.
4. Set alarms to remind yourself.
5. Drink a glass of water at every meal
6. Set a daily goal of fluid ounces or liters.

With all that in mind, get out there, get hydrated, and achieve your fitness goals!

References:

Bjarnadottir, A. (2023, February 17). How drinking more water can help you lose weight. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/drinking-water-helps-with-weight-loss

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 6). Water and healthier drinks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/water-and-healthier-drinks.html

Electrolytes: Types, purpose & normal levels. Cleveland Clinic. (2021, September 24). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/21790-electrolytes

Leech, J. (2023, March 8). 7 reasons why you should drink more water. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water

NHS. (n.d.). Dehydration. NHS choices. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/

Taylor, K., & Jones, E. B. (2022). Adult dehydration – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf. NCBI NLM. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555956/

Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight. The Hub. (2020, January 15). https://hub.jhu.edu/at-work/2020/01/15/focus-on-wellness-drinking-more-water/

About The Author:

Charles armstrong author

Charles Armstrong

Contributing Author

Charles Armstrong is a copywriter with a specialization in the fitness industry, and has a track record of success, having worked with Transfitnation over the course of several years. Additionally, he is an author and entrepreneur, using his skills to help others achieve their goals.

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