The Essentials of Hydration

Whether you’re a pro athlete, weekend warrior or just exercise to stay fit, it’s important to stay hydrated. Adequate hydration means getting the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise. Water controls your body temperature and lubricates your joints. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms.

How hydration level affects your exercise performance?

The effect of dehydration (and adequate hydration) on exercise performance has been experimented in many ways, measuring factors from endurance capacity to aerobic power. According to Dr. Jeukendrup and Dr. Gleeson, writers of Sports Nutrition, Second Edition, your exercise performance will be affected negatively even when you are dehydrated by as little as 2% of your body weight.

During any exercise or sport, your muscles generate heat, which leads to increased body temperature. When this occurs, your body reacts by sweating. When sweat evaporates, the body cools. If the fluids lost through sweating are not replaced, the body cannot work properly to cool itself, leading to heat-related injuries or illness.

Although the adverse effect is most evident in hot, humid conditions, dehydration has been proven to impair performance even in cool, dry weather. According to research, the cold weather may trick your body into thinking you’re not thirsty.

Should you drink only when you are thirsty?

Multiple articles online suggest that you take a swig of water whenever you feel thirsty. However, thirst is an inadequate cue for proper hydration consumption. It’s too easy to fail to recognize thirst, especially if you’re invested in your daily tasks. Once you recognize that you are thirsty, you’re most likely already dehydrated. Another textbook rule is the 8×8 rule by which you should drink 8 glasses of water every day. This one rule fits all is grossly inaccurate as it is based on no actual research, your daily hydration requirement depends on your age, weight, height, daily activity level and the geographic location you are living in.

How should I keep a track on my hydration?

A solution lies in the wearables industry. Currently, wearable gadgets, such as fitness trackers, help users set goals, gather and analyze data, and make healthier lifestyle choices.

Hydration is no different; everyone has different needs when it comes to water consumption. Relatively new to the wearables industry, smart water bottles can help you keep track of your hydration. Depending on the brand, the technology employed differs. For example, Ozmo uses photo sensors to detect incremental changes in beverage volume within the Ozmo Bottle. Most smart bottles connect with companion apps that can help you find the right goal for hydration, keep a record of and analyze hydration data, and give you hydration tips and fitness motivation.

The Ozmo Hydration App is available on the Garmin Connect IQ store, where when you hydrate from the Ozmo bottle your hydration is real-time recorded on your watch.

If you hit the gym or go running regularly but neglect to hydrate, you’re cutting yourself short. Start keeping track of how much water you are (or are not) drinking and should you need a little nudge now and then to stay hydrated, consider investing in a smart water bottle.

Hydrate properly and see improvement in your exercise performance!