Even though the critical role played by adequate hydration in the optimum functioning of our bodies is well known, several athletic performers tend to overlook the positive impact that drinking enough water can have on one’s performance, during and after athletic activity.
Science of Hydration: adequate hydration is the key to ace your performance
Body demands good hydration before, during, and after exercise to perform at its highest level. One may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms if the body is inadequately hydrated.
Hydration replaces the water lost during sweating thereby cooling down (thermoregulate) the body and preventing heat exhaustion and cramps1. It also improves blood pressure and blood circulation during exercise, as well as, delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout the working muscles.
Staying Hydrated: an underestimated factor in routine lifestyle
The multitude of biochemical reactions occurring in our body cannot take place without water. In fact, every fluid that we need to survive, needs hydration to function. It is required to moisten food (saliva), digest food (gastric secretion), transport nutrients to and from cells (blood), discarding waste (urine), and dispersing heat (sweat). This need for hydration is therefore not limited to athletes alone.
The concept of hydration has moved beyond the realm of sports performance and safety. Evidence have suggested that dehydration even in non-athletes may lead to constipation, impaired cognitive function, falling, sudden decrease in blood pressure when standing up, salivary dysfunction, poor glucose control in diabetes, etc while adequate water supplementation may alleviate some of these conditions.
Hydration also affects the quality of your hair and skin. Bollywood celebrities swear by a good hydration routine since it contributes heavily towards not only maintaining their skin and hair radiance but also helps them stay active throughout their hectic schedules.
Are you as well-hydrated as you think you are?
As discussed, hydration is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the optimal functioning of important body systems and organs. Therefore, it is imperative for you to know how well hydrated your body is. The easiest way to determine this is by observing your urine colour. You will be surprised to know that pee can actually come in a spectrum of shades and each shade reflects your hydration status:
• Amber or Honey coloured: Body isn’t receiving enough water.
• Dark yellow: Normal but drink water soon.
• Pale straw colour: Well-hydrated.
• No colour: Over-hydrated. Cut back.
Here is a simple hydration calculator that will help you understand how much water you should consume every day*.
Step 1: Determine your weight. The heavier you are, the more water you need.
Step 2: Multiply your weight by 2/3. This is your optimum daily water consumption.
Step 3: If you are physically active, then add 0.35 litres of water for every 30 minutes of work out.
E.g. 60 minutes/day of exercise will need an additional 0.7 litres water/day.
*This hydration number is for guidance only. Hydration depends on a several factors such as your health status, location, pregnancy etc. and it is recommended you consult a doctor and adopt a hydration schedule to remain active and strong in the long run.
So, remember, the benefits of good hydration extend far beyond just one’s performance on the field.
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