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  • Beth Miller, DPT

Benefits of Hydrating and Physical Therapy


No matter who you talk to, you will never escape the recommendation to drink more water. Water is as essential to life as breathing oxygen. In our mission to stay healthy and eat all the right portions of proteins, vegetables, fats and carbs, we often forget how essential staying hydrated is to improve our body’s health.

The advantage of drinking water has more benefits to the body than just replacing depleted fluid levels. One of the lesser known benefits of drinking water is that it helps keep your muscles and joints strong, healthy, and lubricated. Your joints and muscles need moisture in order to remain resilient and flexible, so that your movements are smooth and pain free. Because water carries oxygen to the cells of your body, including the muscles, drinking water directly contributes to improving muscle strength. It enables your muscles to work harder and longer before they feel tired. Research by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning reports water is essential for improving muscle performance and decreasing water intake directly results in decreased in muscle performance (livestrong.com).

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, water intake is essential prior to working out to prevent dehydration, during exercise to prevent muscle cramping, and after exercise to promote muscle growth. If there is a lack of fluid, there is a lack of strength which can contribute to other side effects such as muscle cramping. Muscle cramping is thought to be related to muscle fatigue, fluid loss, and salt depletion from prolonged activity. There is not enough evidence to suggest supplementing with potassium, magnesium, or quinine helps reduce muscle cramping. Using supplements to replenish lost electrolytes such as salt with sports drinks or concentrated endurance gels are only necessary with prolonged activity in an environment where access to food is not available. Prolonged activities include but are not limited to marathon running, 100-mile cycling races, ice hockey, playing tennis in hot environments, and long-distance activities such as cross-country skiing or triathlons. Otherwise, a normal daily diet is enough to balance depleted salt levels after an intense work out.

When trying to gain muscle, supplying your body with nutrients such as protein and carbs isn’t enough. Unless those raw materials are efficiently absorbed in the body, muscle gain will be ineffective. Proper digestion is crucial, and water taken during or after meals improves digestion and helps maintain a healthy digestive track. Researchers conclude the best way to absorb nutrients are through hydration which directly contributes to proper absorption. Dehydration directly leads to improper digestion resulting in nutrients not being absorbed and muscle not being built. Dehydration comes when you do not get enough water and can cause serious health problems. Mild to moderate dehydration can cause health effects such as dry mouth, sleepiness, dry skin, headache and dizziness, or light-headedness, according to the Mayo Clinic. In severe cases of dehydration, people experience sunken eyes, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, inability to create sweat, delirium, unconsciousness, and even death. Common signs and symptoms of dehydration are dry mouth, thirst, dizziness, weakness, inability to urinate, inability to sweat, heart palpitations, and/or rapid heartbeat.

As the weather gets warmer and we are more active outdoors, it is crucial for certain populations, such as children and the elderly, to hydrate throughout the day to prevent negative side effects and maintain healthy bodies. For more information and research related to the importance of water for our bodies please, refer to these links below or contact one of the therapists at Mizuta & Associates for help.

Links to websites for further information:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/134943-why-is-water-important-building-muscle/

http://www.acsm.org/docs/publications/Roundtable%20on%20Hydration%20and%20Physical%20Activity.pdf

#Hydration #Sweat #Dehydration #Water

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