At Pete Fraser Fitness we recommend to our clients a moderate, varied and balanced diet. Water is an essential part of this type of healthy diet.
Read more about how this essential liquid can maintain and improve your health sports performance…
Why is it so important for the body?
Water has many functions within the body and is the most commonly found constituent of our physiology, found in every cell: it lubricates, transports, facilitates and maintains reactions within cells throughout the body. Maintenance of water at the correct levels is essential for good health.
So how much should I drink?
Still, natural water is best for maintaining water balance in the body, ideally around 2 litres for average individuals under normal conditions and environment. Temperature, exercise and state of health will effect the amount needed, i.e. if you’re sweating more in hot conditions you’ll need to drink more and visa versa. Fruit juice in moderation is a good addition to maintaining water balance and a good source of other nutrients. Tea and especially coffee are both diuretic which promote increased water loss and so should be consumed in moderation.
Are fancy sports drinks any good – and what is isotonic?
Isotonic drinks are readily available at most drinks counters but do they perform as well as the manufacturers claim and what is it they actually do? An isotonic solution is one that has no effect on the volume of cells, neither increases nor decreases the cells’ concentration and is therefore balanced and similar to that of the body. Isotonic drinks normally contain electrolytes which include mainly sodium, potassium and chloride (also bicarbonate, sulphate, magnesium and calcium). These elements, when diluted in water, conduct an electrical charge and so gain their title, electrolytes.
Isotonic drinks: those containing electrolytes including mainly sodium, potassium and chloride
When performing physical activity for a period of time, the body will lose substantial amounts of fluid in sweat, also removing electrolytes with it. Drink manufacturers claim that replacing electrolytes will improve performance. Replacing fluids is important whist exercising, especially during bouts lasting more than 90 minutes and in high temperatures, however, only in ultra-endurance events or a day long tournament would one need to replace electrolytes. Water is the best rehydrating fluid under normal conditions and in general everyday life. A small amount of simple carbohydrate (like glucose powder) can be added to water in events of greater than 90 minutes to maintain carbohydrate balance although this is of no concern to everyday intake – just keep topped up with plain, still water up to 2 litres.
Too much is not a good idea!
However, as with all nutrition, too much is a bad thing. Although unlikely, diluting the body fluids too much can cause a condition known as hyponatraemia, sometimes seen in the early days of endurance sports, where athletes would over consume liquid and collapse during a race. But have no fear, you’d need to drink a lot of liquid before this happens – again, stick to your 2 litres a day and you’ll be ok!