While most of us have heard that the average person should consume eight 8-opunce glasses of water a day, there are a few more bits of information useful to the exerciser. Proper hydration helps all bodily functions to be more efficient, including performance during exercise and water further enhances our results from our workouts, especially weight loss. Although the general recommendation above is a good starting point, most of us, and particularly those of us actively participating in exercise, need a little more. A good measure that applies to most active exercisers would be two and one-half to three large size (32-oz) water bottles daily.
Further guidelines in the fitness industry suggest we should consume additional water when in hot, dry or very cold environments and when we are more active. A good rule of thumb with hydration is not to get to the point of feeling thirsty; at that point, it is said to be too late, meaning you have reached the dehydration point. Consuming small amounts—5 oz. or so at a time—throughout the duration of your day is the best way to stay truly hydrated. With proper hydration, the body does not retain or “hold” as much water in fat tissue so we feel more comfortable. The average person loses through normal bodily function about 8- to 10-cups of water per day and this must be replaced. Although some foods and beverages do contain water, the good clear liquid itself is always the best source. If consuming the appropriate amount of water is difficult, there are a number of healthy, flavored alternatives that can make the habit of hydrating easier to adjust to. Just avoid high calorie or high sugar flavorings when possible.
Water is also very helpful in the digestion process and in assisting the body in absorbing vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Substituting water or flavored water for soda (especially if consuming more than one can a day) has been shown to significantly decrease stored body fat. While exercise and a balanced diet are paramount for good health and efficient weight loss or weight gain, water is the catalyst that helps the body achieve the best overall function and enhances our results from exercise.
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