Sticking to a regular work routine is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. But sometimes, it can be easy to forget that the recovery process is just as important. Rest and recovery are necessary components of any effective strength training or conditioning program. Without proper recovery, the body struggles to restore energy, repair muscles, and gain strength. Of the most important things, you should be doing to promote post-workout recovery, hydrating ranks among the highest.
As your muscles begin to recover, they repair themselves using a process called protein synthesis. It’s at this stage, and not during exercise, that you experience muscle growth. When your body isn’t hydrated enough, however, this process is either slowed down or disrupted. If your body is dehydrated enough, you can even be working out to the detriment of your body. A lack of water in your body composition can increase your likelihood of injury, weaken your performance during workouts, and even hinder weight loss.
Excessive sweating from exercise can also have a dramatic effect on your body’s fluid and electrolyte balance. Some clear signs that your body is in need of electrolytes are cramping muscle spasms and dizziness. Sodium, one of the body’s electrolytes, is especially important because it helps our bodies retain water to keep our cells properly hydrated. And your cells play an invaluable role in your body’s metabolism and immune responses.
Furthermore, when you don’t drink enough water, sodium levels can drop, which often leads to salt cravings. Food cravings of any kind are signs you should be paying special attention to. Hey, can be your body’s way of signaling some kind of deficiency.
But proper hydration during exercise isn’t limited to restoring calories and water. It also involves electrolyte replenishing, which can be achieved either by eating electrolyte-rich foods or by improving your body’s hydration process via supplemental products. It’s especially important, however, to pay attention to the kinds of supplemental drinks you’re ingesting as so many of them offset their benefits by containing unwanted refined sugars and excessive calories.
The most important thing to remember is that bodies vary greatly in composition and needs, and learning about your individual body is the key to achieving optimal health results.