3 Reasons Water is Crucial for Runners

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Whether you’re an elite runner, run for fun or your health, water is essential. Hydration before, during and after running are key. In this article, we look at 3 reasons water is crucial for runners.  

Water, the elixir of life

Water is the elixir of life for humans and it plays a huge role in our bodies makeup and function. 

Did you that around 60% of the human body is water? H20 is critical for the functioning of our bodies. 

From pumping blood, maintaining optimal core temperature, staying alert, digesting food and fueling muscles. Water keeps us alive and ticking. 

What happens if you don’t get enough water? 

Failing to consume enough liquids can lead to disastrous consequences. Not drinking enough water can cause: 

  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Weekended immune system 
  • Constipation
  • Joint pain 
  • Your thinking becomes muddied 
  • Your athletic performance suffers 

What are the symptoms of dehydration? 

If you experience any one or combination of the following symptoms, chances are you’re dehydrated:

  • Thirst
  • Headaches
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dry skin and mouth

In short, not getting enough water is bad. Very bad. 

Okay, we’ve explored why water is essential for our general health. Let’s look at 3 reasons why water is essential for runners. 

1. Water keeps the body cool during a run

One of the by-products of energy production during running is heat. 

The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more heat is generated. Generating too much heat during a run can be bad for the body because there is a dangerous risk of it overheating. 

The human body should stay around 36.5 – 37.5 degrees Celcius for optimum function. If it heats up too much over this threshold, you’re at risk of fainting or sunstroke. 

Luckily, being adequately hydrated stops you from becoming overheated whilst running. The bodies response to overheating is to stimulate the sweat glands which naturally cools the body during a run. 

If you’ve drunk enough water, you’ll easily be able to generate sweat during a run and maintain an optimal temperature.  

2. Water delays fatigue and maintains mental sharpness 

Being alert and maintaining mental sharpness is important for all runners. 

Runners need to stay alert of their environment, such as of cars and people, to stay safe. 

During competitions, runners need to stay aware of where they’re going so they don’t go off course. 

Runners also require mental sharpness and focus for peak athletic performance. If you’re feel on the ball and sharp, you’re more likely to achieve a faster time than someone who feels half asleep. 

Even with minor dehydration, the brain’s ability to focus becomes significantly impaired. Therefore, it’s essential that us runners maintain optimal hydration during each and every run. 

3. Water is Essential for Post-Run Recovery

Water plays a significant role in post-run recovery. From enabling the body to digesting nutrients to repairing damaged muscles from the run. H20 is instrumental in the process of recovering your body after each run.

When we run, we strengthen the muscles by breaking them down and then repairing them stronger. Water is essential for this muscle repair process. If you’re dehydrated after a run, the muscle rebuilding process will be slower and less efficient thus you won’t feel as recovered.

Post-run recovery requires replenishing the body with nutrients from food. To aid digestion and ensure you’re body gets all the nutrients it needs to recover from a run, sufficient water is required. Water is found in saliva which helps breakdown food for digestion. Water also directly aids the digestion process by making it easier for the body to circulate nutrients.

Numerous studies suggest show that staying hydrated during and after a run enables the body to quickly revert to pre-workout levels. When a hydrated runner stops their workout, their heart rate and core body temperature returns to normal much quicker than a runner who is not hydrated enough.

6 Tips for runners to maintain excellent hydration

We’ve established water is essential for runners. So, how can we ensure we stay properly hydrated before, during and after running?

  1. Drink a tall glass of water before every run
  2. Bring a bottle of water on your run or money to buy a drink
  3. Pack a few bottles of water for long distance running
  4. Set a timer to beep every 20 minutes during the run so you don’t forget to drink
  5. Listen to your body and drink at the first sign of thirst
  6. Drink a tall glass of water immediately after your run finishes

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