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Water : The Lifeblood of Peak Performance

/ Sword Performance

This holiday season, athletes may tend to drink less water as we're traveling, attending holiday parties, and simply out of our normal routine. It is important to stay hydrated as it aids so many vital functions for the body. 

Sword Performance Human Body Diagram of Functions of Water
The human body is comprised of primarily water. It is found in every aspect of our anatomy and is physiologically responsible for major roles in our normal function. As you may have guessed, the need for adequate water is heightened when we exercise, particularly in the heat and humidity. In general, water helps carry our nutrients, vital electrolytes, and virtually every other substance in our body to our skeletal muscles, brain, and surrounding organs. Furthermore, it plays an essential role in fuel digestion, intestinal absorption, and maintaining normal kidney function. Now let's dive a little deeper into water. 

Water is lost daily from breathing, urine, stool, skin evaporation, climate changes, high altitudes, and muscular contraction during exercise. It it vital that our intake of water is greater than our output, but often difficult to do in a 1:1 ratio. At Sword, we believe our bodies are the master regulator, and we advise all athletes to drink to their thirst.  

So what's going on with water in our skeletal muscles? When we exercise, our heart rate increases as a function of an increased demand for fuel and oxygen. The more we demand from our body, the faster our muscles send signals to demand a quick supply of blood. But if you don't drink enough water, this process becomes less efficient. We also sweat during exercise and the body is losing sodium. (Learn more about the roles of sodium here) If the cells are not adequately hydrated, the cell will shrink and this can result in accelerated fatigue, muscle pain, spasms, cramps and slowed muscle growth. 


Additionally water plays a role in both muscle repair and as mentioned above, muscle growth. Now this may sound counter intuitive, but to build muscle, we first must break it. When we exercise, particularly when exercise is intense, we experience many micro-tears and localized inflammation. This is completely normal as the breakage serves as the driving factor our muscles use to signal processes inside our bodies to stimulate muscle re-growth and repair. The end result is often soreness, but also increased strength! Water is necessary for protein synthesis; if you are lacking water your body may break down muscle tissue which will slow down your performance progress and in turn, make your muscles weaker.

WATER is a vital part of our day and we need to make sure we are at least drinking half of our body weight in ounces of water per day. (Remember, milk, coffee, tea also count toward your total fluid intake).  SWORD® is a great mixture of hydration and fuel as it provides both water and valuable sodium electrolytes to the cells to avoid shrinkage to maximize exercise performance and will help with to prevent dehydration. 

How much water will you drink today!?! Drink more!

Sword Dietitian Emily Gimm short biography image

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