Often when we undertake such demanding fitness routines as pilates, we focus on what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat it. We know we have to drink water before, during, and after our workouts, but we don’t give nearly as much thought to proper hydration as we do to nutrition, even though hydration is a critical part of the overall picture.
So the fitness experts at Pilates In the Grove want to devote some time to this crucial topic, because you may not realize how important proper hydration is to fully realizing your fitness goals. Because the human body comprises nearly 60 percent water, proper water intake affects every part of the body.
Proper Fluid Fitness Benefits
1. Regulates body temperature
Without proper fluid intake, your body cannot release the heat generated as you exercise. Your core temperature will increase faster than you’d like, and your heart will be unnecessarily stressed. In addition, overheated muscles will not perform optimally, so you won’t get the maximum benefits from your workout.
2. Increases endurance
If you have enough water to fuel your muscles during your workouts, you’ll be less prone to premature fatigue, and thus able to get the most from your Pilates routine.
3. Flushes toxins
One of the many benefits of pilates is the cleansing it imparts to the entire body from the vigorous movements involved. The heart rate increases, blood floods every organ, and toxins are released. This process is impaired when insufficient water is available to flush the resulting waste.
4. Hydrates the brain
The exacting poses and positions of pilates require considerable thought and full attention to ensure they are performed correctly. Sufficient hydration will help increase the neuromuscular coordination needed to do this.
5. Protects the joints
The synovial fluid contained in the muscles helps protect them. Without water, this critical fluid becomes dehydrated, and cannot perform as needed during exercise.
6. Lowers blood pressure
Adequate water intake encourages excess fluid to leave the blood vessels, allowing them to relax, lowering blood pressure and thus decreasing the chance of cardiovascular impairment during exercise.
7. Provides energy
Water also helps increase circulation, thus transporting nutrients to the muscles, giving them the energy they need to perform at peak efficiency.
8. Prevents dehydration
You lose a great deal of water during exercise, which can lead to dehydration, overheating, and possibly heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This is why your instructor at Pilates In the Grove will emphasize water consumption before, during, and after your classes.
How Much Water Do You Need?
We recommend that you consume 15 to 20 ounces of water one hour before and after class. Since most people don’t drink enough water throughout the course of a day, the best way to tell whether you need to drink more is by checking urine color. If it is pale yellow or clear, you’re getting enough. Anything darker than that is a signal of possible dehydration. Also, most people are already somewhat dehydrated by the time they feel thirsty. Thirst is a reliable sign that you haven’t been drinking enough.
Should You Drink Sports Drinks?
So-called sports drinks contain salt, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, elements that are flushed from the body during vigorous workouts. They are recommended for those whose exercise routines exceed 40 minutes in a single session. At the same time, do not substitute other types of drinks—coffee, tea, soda—for water. They will dehydrate you and negatively impact your performance.
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
Yes, it’s possible to overdo it, but highly unlikely, especially if you’re participating in vigorous exercise. It’s called water intoxication, or hyponatremia, and it is deadly. It results from drinking too much water in too short a time. Marathon runners who drink too much water during races can die, but it is still an extremely rare condition. Nevertheless, it’s best to follow the guidelines given here or check with an instructor.
Your expert instructors at Pilates In the Grove can help you best judge whether your water intake is sufficient during your sessions. Please feel free to consult us with any questions you may have.