How Water Works Out
Water is your best workout buddy. When you hit the gym or head out on a jog, the water you drink is right there with you, hard at work behind the scenes to make sure you get the most out of your fitness routine. After all, there’s a reason why your body craves water after a long workout and why medical professionals stress the importance of proper sports hydration.1
How Does Water Affect Your Workout?
Water is essential for every part of your body—literally, head to toe—from your organs to your muscles to your skin.2 While important for your overall health, water actively plays a big role when you exercise. One of its most important jobs is regulating your body temperature.
When you start working up a sweat, that’s actually your body’s way of cooling down. Of course, you need water to sweat, and if you’re too dehydrated to sweat, your body can’t cool itself efficiently. This can lead to heat exhaustion, which won’t just cut your workout short, but can also result in a dangerous heat stroke.3 Drinking plenty of water before, during and after exercise will help you replenish fluids lost from sweating and keep you cool even during your most intense CrossFit class.
Water is also your MVP when it comes to your heart health. When you’re well hydrated, your blood volume is increased and it flows more easily through your heart and into your blood vessels and muscles. Your heart has to expend less effort to pump your blood, and your muscles get all the nutrients and oxygen they need to work efficiently, helping prevent cramping.4,5 As a result, your workout will be easier on both your heart and your muscles, leading to more gains and less strain.
How Much Water Do You Need?
Since water impacts our fitness so much, how can we be sure we’re drinking enough? The simplest answer is to trust your body. Drink water whenever you’re thirsty and plan to drink more after you sweat, even if you’re not immediately thirsty.1 As a general guideline for healthy adults, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine recommends about 15.5 cups of fluids for men and 11.5 cups of fluids for women each day.2 You may want to drink more water if:
- you’re exercising or sweating a lot
- it’s hot or humid outside or you’re at a high altitude
- you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
- you’re over the age of 50
Remember that plain water isn’t the only way to hydrate. If you’ve had a long, intense workout, a low-sugar sports drink is another good option for replenishing fluids and electrolytes.1 But if you don’t want the extra calories that come with a sports drink, regular H2O is the way to go!
Fitness Tips to Get You Fired Up
Water might be workout fuel, but you’re the only one with the get up and go to make your fitness goals happen. If you’re struggling to stay active, give these fitness tips a try:
- Set an intention. Give yourself a specific fitness goal, like doing a certain yoga routine or taking a walk on your lunch break. It’s okay to start small and work up to bigger, harder goals.
- Multitask. Listen to a podcast on your jog or bike to the store instead of hopping in the car. Keeping your mind occupied will help beat the fatigue, and knocking out chores at the same time will help you fit a workout into your busy schedule.
- Try new activities. Maybe a typical elliptical isn’t enough to keep you inspired. Mix up your fitness routine with new activities like yoga, pilates, hiking, swimming, playing basketball or anything else your heart desires. The main goal is to move more and sit less.
- Workout in small bursts. If you’re just starting your fitness journey or you don’t have much free time, split up your workout into 10 to 15 minute bursts throughout the day. The U.S. Deparment of Health recommends just 150 minutes of moderate activity a week or 30 minutes for 5 days.6 Even small workouts can add up to big results.
- Track your progress. To stay motivated, log your workouts and celebrate your accomplishments with our handy fitness tracker:
Our final fitness tip? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Before you lace up your shoes or roll out the yoga mat, remember to fill up your water bottle so you can workout at your best. Make sure you always have convenient access to great-tasting water with a Primo® water dispenser in your home.
1Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, July 20). Mayo Clinic Minute: Drink to Thirst When Exercising. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-drink-to-thirst-when-exercising/
2Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, October 14). How Much Water Do You Need to Stay Healthy? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
3Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, July 1). Heat Exhaustion. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-exhaustion/symptoms-causes/syc-20373250
4American Heart Association. (2014, August 6). Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy. American Heart Association. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/staying-hydrated-staying-healthy
5Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, July 22). Water: Essential to Your Body. Mayo Clinic Health System. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/water-essential-to-your-body
6Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2019, May 7). How Much Exercise Do You Really Need? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/how-much-exercise-do-you-really-need/art-20457580