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WATER - "The Most Essential Nutrient"

An estimated 60% of total bodyweight is water. Water helps to maintain body temperature, and allows for over 50% of all chemical reactions occurring in the body. It is also responsible for the movement of nutrients, digestion, absorption processes, circulation, and the excretion of wastes. Water also is a vital component of synovial fluid (joint Lubricant), and cerebrospinal fluid in the nervous system. Water is in part responsible for the transmission of light and sound in the ears and eyes. The body's average daily loss of fluids through excretion, respiration, chemical reactions, and perspiration varies from 1-3 quarts. A high protein intake calls for a greater amount of fluids as well. At 2% dehydration, the body's work capacity decreases by 12-15%! Also, body temperature and heart rate increase during periods of dehydration. The body's prevention mechanism is osmorecepter transmission to the brain stimulating a sensation of thirst prior to the occurrence of dehydration. In any case, when the body is deprived of fluids it will pull water from any or all reserves earlier mentioned in an effort to maintain critical blood volume and a safe body temperature. A prolonged low fluid intake, high sodium ingestion, or excessive prolonged use of diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol can trigger a variety of hormonal responses, resulting in the survival storage of surplus fluids. By increasing fluid intake, this survival storage response will be affectively reversed and a loss of excessive water weight will occur. Fluid imbalances contribute to a host of metabolic disorders, and you can easily reduce all of these potential health threats simply by getting into the habit of drinking more water, at least 8-10 glasses daily! Water can be absorbed from the small intestine at a maximum rate of 8-10 ounces every 20 minutes, and should be ingested during and after exercise (especially in hot, humid climates). Cold water enters the small intestine faster and is therefore suggested. In preparing for exercise when profuse sweating is anticipated, simply weigh in prior to and after, and then ingest 16 ozs of water per pound of weight lost, at the above-prescribed rate. If fluid loss is considerable, dilute replacement fluid intake with small quantities of salt to insure retention of fluids, and ingest at the optimum rate. The greater the loss of fluids, the lower the salt dilution and the more gradual the ingestion! Never take sodium during exercise! The temporary hypertonic concentration of sodium in the blood will result in an osmotic shift of fluids out of the working muscles, causing severe cramping and increased susceptibility to heat injuries (heat stroke and heat exhaustion)! 'Sports Drinks' contain simple sugar, which slows the absorption rate of desperately needed fluids and should not be used until after exercise! Continued replenishment of water is the primary concern during exercise! Sports drinks do have post-workout value due to their mineral and electrolyte content, however, for best results, it is still suggested to dilute these drinks with 50% cold water!

Source: NFPT Personal Trainer Magazine By Ron Clark

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