We all know we should drink more water, but do we? As dancers, we are athletes and it is important to keep our bodies in the best condition possible. One of the major factors of body health is water consumption. We can’t expect to have the strength and energy we need, let alone feel and look our best, if we don’t drink enough water.
Water accounts for a large percentage of our bodies. Did you know that 84% of our blood is water, 75% of our muscles are water, our brains are made up of 74% water and even our bone is 22% water?! Now do you realize why you need to drink more water?
Injury Prevention and Healing
Did you know that water can aid injury prevention and healing? Dancers plagued with injuries have found that by just increasing their water consumption they can reduce injuries and heal quicker, as water aids in blood circulation, flushing toxins away from the injured area. Water can speed healing, reduce inflammation from overuse or injury and simply refresh our well used muscles.
Digestion and Detoxification
Water is necessary for our bodies to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients. It also detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries away waste from the body. Water is also a key factor in digestion . Fibre alone cannot aid proper digestive function by itself. In fact, without water fibre can cause constipation and bloating.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Water not only helps detoxify and cleanse the body, but it aids significantly in weight loss and weight management, as well as glowing and healthy skin. We not only want to dance well, but as performers we all know that it is important to have a healthy weight and look great on stage. Water is a natural appetite suppressant, so developing a good water drinking habit can be a long-term aid in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight (not starving yourself, but being healthy!)
Increased Energy and Concentration
If you’re dehydrated, your blood is literally thicker, and your body has to work much harder to cause it to circulate. As a result, the brain becomes less active, it’s hard to concentrate and your body feels fatigued. If you find yourself tired after dance class, this is of course normal, but a quick ‘pick me up’ can come from a quick drink of water. Make sure to drink between classes to not only keep the thirst at bay, but keep the body and mind alert and active. Adequate water consumption can improve your energy, increase your physical performance, increase your mental alertness and concentration, remove toxins and waste, keep skin healthy, and reduce headaches and dizziness.
So how much water should we drink? 2 litres, or 8 glasses a day.
Many of us know the 8 glass a day rule, but do we abide by it? Here are some tips to help you achieve 2 litres of water consumption a day:
Tips to Increase your Water Consumption:
– Make sure to carry a water bottle with you every day. Buy a pack of bottled waters and keep them in your car or somewhere that’s always accessible. Make sure to take at least one with you to work or school, and always have a water bottle for dance class. If it’s a 600ml or 500ml bottle, try to finish at least two bottles by the time you finish work or school. Then will have at least drunk 1 litre to 1.2 litres throughout the day. This helps you to take note of how much water you drink. Then try and drink at least 1 more bottle at night, or preferably 2.
– Always keep a water bottle in your dance bag, so you always have one when you really need it – when you’re exercising.
– You are naturally thirsty /dehydrated in the morning when you first wake up. Make it a habit to drink at least one glass of water in the morning with your breakfast to help your body to flush out the toxins it has been processing overnight. Take advantage of this thirst to get a start on your water consumption for the day.
– Don’t wait until you are thirsty to have a drink. You are already dehydrated if you feel thirsty.
– Set a timer to remind yourself to drink.
– Reduce consumption of diuretics. Drinking coffees and cokes prompts the body to lose water as they are diuretics. We get thirsty, but are we quenching our thirst with the correct liquid? Plain water is the best refreshment. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can be useful in replenishing our bodies with salts and minerals after an intensive workout or dance class, but be careful of flavoured and vitamin waters that may look like a healthier option than plain water, but are actually full of un-needed sugars and calories. Compensate for drinking diuretics such as coffee, tea and wine by drinking a few extra glasses of water to make up for the water that these diuretic beverages leech from your body.
– Keep a bottle of water or glass of water by your bed and remember to take some sips before you go to sleep or if you wake up in the middle of the night. You may find yourself waking up in the night to go to the bathroom if you significantly increase your drinking in one hit, but remember, it is natural and it is good for your body. You will be healthier for it!
– Dance teachers, encourage your students to drink water. Keep chilled water in the studio fridge and cups to allow students who forgot their drink bottles to have a drink between classes. Allow students to bring water bottles into class and place them on the side. You don’t want students running to their drink bottles every two minutes, but give designated drinking times throughout the class.
Photo: © Bryan Creely | Dreamstime.com