Is dehydration holding your training back and causing you pain?

Most people that I know are severely dehydrated, trying to get by only one or two cups of water per day. Or worse still, they don’t drink any water at all with their fluid intake coming from tea, coffee or artificial beverages such as soda pop and fizzy drinks.

Water is the most crucial thing to sustain life, not just for humans but pretty much every living thing on the planet. For instance if you fail to water your plants for a few days they begin to show signs of dehydration by becoming brittle, leaves then start to die and fall from the branches and pretty soon the whole plant shrivels up and dies.

With the human body being over 75% water, it is of vital importance that you drink lots of fresh clean water per day to allow it to carry out every little task that it does second to second, minute by minute on a day-to-day basis.

The human body is truly an amazing organism and will try to adapt to every situation that it finds itself in. Although that isn’t always a good thing.

So when the body doesn’t receive enough water, it steps in to protect itself and begins by rationing what water that it does get. Histamine, a neurotransmitter then becomes active and begins to redistributes water throughout the body with it’s priorities being the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and the glands.  Then come the muscles, bones and skin (one of the first signs of dehydration is dry skin).

During long periods of dehydration, histamine makes sure that these vital organs have enough water to function. If you are not supplying the body with enough water the body will begin to pull it from other areas of the body.

Chronic dehydration can cause histamine to become over active, which can cause symptoms for other disorders such as asthma, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, depression, muscle pain and joint pain!

So with histamine redistributing the water it receives and pulling it away from the muscles and joints in favour of the brain, lungs and digestive organs the muscles then start to become toxic.

With every action in your body there is a reaction. Just as a car burns petrol and produces waste gases the body produces by-products from respiration, digestion and muscle contractions. If the body doesn’t get a plentiful supply of water these toxins build up in the muscles and lead to pain.

When you drink sufficient water your body flushes these from the muscles where they are excreted through urination.

A further complication of dehydration is joint pain. The cartilage in your joints is primarily composed of water. During movement these joint surfaces glide over each other and some of the cells become worn. The body then produces new cells to replace the worn and damaged ones. But due to the lack of blood supply to the cartilage water is required to transport the nutrients to help maintain and repair these damaged surfaces. Due to the lack of water the joint compartments will then become closer together resulting in increased friction, and wear and tear.

This will have a knock on effect to any fitness training that you are doing. The body will always prefer protection over function and will reduce the force output of muscle acting on dehydrated joints which will make you weaker in the gym. So if you are unable to train to the intensity’s that you would be capable of you are not going to burn as many calories as you would expect and your fat loss will be slowed.

So the take home message is: drink lots of fresh clean water daily. As a rough guide you should be drinking at least a litre of water for every 50lb of body weight. And get yourself a water filter to remove all the nasty’s found in tap water.

Marc Kent author EAT Smart Diet Solution