Swimsuit, check. Goggles, check. Paddles and board, check. Towel, check. Water bottle…?
Hydration is one of the most overlooked aspects of a swim workout. But it is important – dehydration affects your performance and can even hamper the gains you could be making.
But I’m surrounded by water!
Ironically, you can get dehydrated in water even faster than you do on land.
The physical exertion causes you to perspire in the pool even though it’s less obvious than when you go for a run or hit the gym – raise your hand if you can tell the difference between your sweat and the pool water.
It is part of your body’s natural response and it does not matter whether you are in or out of the water, you lose fluids either way.
See no evil
The only difference? Without feeling the heat and beads of perspiration that come when you’re sweating it out, you are less likely to remember to drink up. Out of sight, out of mind.
Your body temperature and heart rate might be high, but without the discomfort of the heat – diffused by the cool pool water – it’s too easy to forget to hydrate. (Yes, we forget too!)
Risks of dehydration
“Dehydration” is a little extreme, you might think. Especially for a short and quick workout just to get the blood flowing and the endorphins going.
A lack of hydration at any degree has a negative impact because of the crucial role that water plays in our body. Water is a key element in the transport of red blood cells which carry oxygen that feeds our cells. Simply put, less water means less oxygen gets carried to your cells. And it’s not just water, electrolytes which are critical to cell function and energy, are also being lost over time.
Physically, this means that fatigue sets in sooner, your rate of perceived exertion increases along with the risk of injury and most commonly, risk of cramps.
More effort at higher risk for a lower reward – the hassle of bringing a bottle of water to the pool seems worth it now, doesn’t it?