John is new to working out. At least since he decided it was time to get rid of his beer belly. Nowadays, he's committed to his workout regiment and he's even dieting!
The only thing that's getting in John's way is that last little stretch.
He gets dizzy, his leg cramps up, his body spasms, and his mind gives in to the pain. He wants to keep running, but he's just not able to push through.
Does this sound like you?
The problem may be a lot more simple than you think: dehydrated muscles.
Proper hydration is the cornerstone of health. Our bodies need water for just about everything!
Read on to learn how proper hydration can help you through fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches and more.
Benefits of Hydration
If we take it back to fifth grade science class, we know that our bodies are 60% water.
So when our water levels are out of whack, it's no wonder that we don't feel well!
But for those of us who don't know exactly how water aides our bodies, the rule to drink a certain number of glasses per day might seem like an old wive's tale.
They couldn't be more wrong!
From nourishing our cells to maintaining our weight, hydration is the key to a healthy body. Dehydrated muscles are a barrier to progress. Below are 5 out of the many ways that proper water intake improves our lives.
- Increased energy levels: Hydrating your body ensures you can operate at your highest level without fatigue.
- Heightened weight loss: Proper water intake has been linked to increased metabolic rates.
- Protects your heart: Drinking the recommended glasses of water per day can reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Prevents headaches: Dehydration headaches are easily avoided by drinking consistently throughout the day.
- Prevents cramps and muscles spasms: Proper hydration keeps your muscles from tiring out as you sweat out essential water and electrolytes.
Prioritizing water is prioritizing your body. Stopping for a drink is the only way to beat dehydrated muscles.
Note: While there is some evidence that suggests cramps are more related to fatigue, and not necessarily dehydration, muscles definitely require proper levels of water and electrolytes to function correctly.
Signs of Dehydration
Unless you've come across a dramatic sign of dehydration, it can be difficult to know if you suffer from poor hydration.
The obvious signs that your muscles are dehydrated: thirstiness, headaches, cotton mouth, cramps, dry skin and dark urine.
The not-so-obvious signs that you need more water are: dizziness, bad breath, less saliva, cravings for sweet foods, infrequent urination, dark urine, and fatigue.
You might not be sure if you've been dehydrated, but we do know that a whopping forty-three percent of adults aren't drinking enough water.
It's very likely that you're within that percentage group.
Luckily, we have tips on the easiest ways to stay hydrated!
One of the hardest parts of staying hydrated is that you can be dehydrated without feeling thirsty.
That's right– you should be reaching for your water bottle not just when you feel overwhelmingly parched! In general, men need about 15 glasses of water per day.
While increasing your water intake is something most of us tackle gradually, here are a few hacks to make it easier.
Try flavored water. This experience doesn't have to be taste-less! Spice things up with a strawberry basil or apple cinnamon water. When water is delicious, you'll WANT to drink more of it.
Make it a priority. Place a full water bottle by your bed when you go to sleep every night. Make it part of your morning routine to drink the whole bottle before leaving for work. You'll be energized and hydrated!
Up your snack game. Alright, I know we all have our favorite pretzels and pub mix, but integrating snacks with a higher water content will help you reach your quota. Opt for fruit or vegetables. Some are almost all water– like cucumbers, watermelon, celery, lettuce and bell peppers.
Make it convenient. Are you walking to the water fountain every time you need water? Don't make it hard on yourself. Buy a reusable water bottle that you can fill up with filtered water. The more convenient drinking water is, the more likely you'll do it.
Track your progress. As the saying goes… There's an app for that. Any of these apps will allow you to set a water goal and mark off as you achieve it throughout the day.
Go Forth and Hydrate
Drinking water may seem like a simple thing, but you'd be surprised by how much better you feel when you drink enough of it.
Especially for those of you who are physically active, proper hydration is a game changer. Don't let dehydrated muscles slow you down.
No more headaches means you can really focus when you get to work.
And no more fatigue means that you just bought yourself more hours in the day. More hours for family, your spouse, your friends, and for you.
See, that's the power of a glass of water. Doesn't one sound good right now?
But really, enough water truly unlocks your physical potential.
If you are over 40 and looking to get serious about your physique, check out our Old School Muscle program.
Old School Muscle was designed specifically for men over 40 who have full time careers and little time to work out.
If you're up to the challenge, we'll be with you every step of the way.
Your friend in health,
Dr. Anthony Balduzzi
Founder, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “Mr. Results”
Bragging Rights: Has helped over 35,000 fathers lose fat, build muscle, & get healthy for their families
P.S. If you haven't seen my FREE 1-Day Meal Plan for Men over 40, I highly recommend you click here to get a free copy sent directly to your email. Remember: nutrition is a core foundation of weight loss for men over 40.
Small note about research cited in this article:
*Always remember: weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual. Just because these studies cite certain data does not mean you will experience these results. Always consult with your doctor before making decisions about your health. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info.