#2 How can hydration help your recovery

One of the most widely researched and yet overlooked factors in athletic training and injury prevention and recovery is hydration.

We are essentially 60-70% water, by simply being in a good hydrated state we reduce the risk of injury considerably.

Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, cartilage wear and frictions in the joints. If you are active hydration is really important as we lose water to sweat.

When dealing with an injury, hydration is an essential part of the healing process and here’s why.

There are 3 phases of a soft tissue injury repair:

1 – Acute Inflammatory phase: this begins immediately after the injury has occurred and lasts for about 72hours, during this stage you will experience pain, swelling, redness and warmth around the injured area.

2 – Proliferation or Repair phase: once the inflammation subsides the body can begin to repair the injured area by laying down collagen to form scar tissue, this can last up to 6 weeks.

3 – Remodelling phase: The scar tissue from the repair phase becomes thicker and sticky and the body will begin to mould it along lines of stress so it can begin to function and behave similar to the tissue it has replaced. As you move through the rehabilitation stage the tensile strength will drastically improve. It typically lasts 3 weeks to 12 months.

Water is vital in progressing from one stage to the next and is used as a vessel to transport and supply the required chemicals, nutrients and oxygen the body needs to move through the 3 phases.

What are the signs of dehydration?

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urination
  • Food cravings
  • Bad breath
  • Headache
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness

A general recommendation for water intake is: Women approximately 2.7 litres per day and Men approximately 3.7 litres per day.

Let thirst be your trigger, if you are thirsty then drink and if you are active ensure you turn up to your training sessions well hydrated and consider replenishing what you lose through sweat during your work out.

You can monitor your own hydration levels in a number of ways, the most effective is checking the colour of your urine. Check first thing in the morning and monitor throughout the day. You are looking for the urine to be like a pale light-coloured lemonade.

To stay injury free or to recover well from injury, hydration needs to be a primary pillar of your training routine.

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