Health

Why Hydration Is Key to Maintain Your Muscle Mass

While lifting weights and consuming enough protein are essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, there’s more to the equation than that. We must also ensure that we consume enough calories, consume all macronutrients and get enough hours of sleep. Plus, there’s a surprising habit that everyone from elite athletes to active individuals can overlook when it comes to maintaining muscle mass. The good news is that it’s quite simple to implement once you know what it is. Below, we reveal the #1 habit you need to start doing to maintain your muscle mass.

The #1 habit for muscle maintenance

The #1 surprising habit you should start focusing on to maintain your muscles is staying well hydrated. Yes, that means drinking enough water every day. (Not just reach for your cup of water when you’re thirsty or before going to the gym.)

Believe it or not, most Americans – about 75% – experience chronic dehydration every day. (1) This is not something to brag about. To understand why hydration is crucial to maintaining muscle mass, we spoke with two sports dietitians, Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD and Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD. They explain how proper hydration is crucial for optimal body function and muscle health.

How does being hydrated help maintain muscle mass?

Water works behind the scenes in countless ways, allowing our bodies to function optimally. “Water is essential for cellular processes, including protein synthesis, which is vital for muscle repair and growth,” says Goodson. She explains: “When you are dehydrated, these processes can be impaired, hindering recovery and muscle growth. »

So even that killer workout you did yesterday won’t result in muscle gains if you haven’t hydrated properly afterward. Goodson also highlights water’s role as a nutrient transporter, transporting essential nutrients throughout the body, which also impacts our muscles. She says, Water helps transport nutrients, such as amino acids and glucose, to muscle cells. Without adequate hydration, nutrient delivery to muscles can be compromised, affecting their growth and repair.

Dehydration not only impacts muscle repair and rebuilding, but also hinders the delivery of recovery nutrients (like protein and carbohydrates) to reach your muscles and jump-start muscle recovery.

Water also influences the way your muscles move and contract. Goodson says: “Water plays a key role in maintaining electrolyte balance, which is necessary for proper muscle contractions during exercise. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and reduced performance. And no athlete wants to experience muscle cramps or a drop in performance, especially during a big match or race.

Jones explains: “A loss of body fluid of just 2% can reduce endurance capacity and energy metabolism. » For example, a 2% loss equates to about 3 pounds of fluid for a 150-pound person. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can affect how long you can ultimately run, swim, or cycle. disrupts the delivery of nutrients to the muscles, which are crucial for sustained activity. Jones also says that “slightly higher losses” of fluid can also impact your strength, intensity and even mental acuity. This may mean lifting lighter weights, completing fewer reps, or. cutting workouts short, which can hinder your ability to build and maintain muscle mass.

Tips for Staying Well Hydrated

Jones and Goodson recommend following these steps to stay hydrated and help you maintain muscle mass as you age:

  • Hydrate yourself all day: Start your day hydrated by drinking a glass of water before waking up to rehydrate after sleep.
  • Set water cut reminders: “Having fluid goals or setting reminders with fluid apps can be helpful for some people who are easily distracted by work or their to-do list, and therefore find themselves in a fluid deficit by the time they realize “They’re thirsty,” Jones said.
  • Take a water bottle with you wherever you go: Make it a habit to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go to stay on top of your hydration goals.
  • Find out the amount of water You need: A quick and easy way Goodson recommends is to take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half. “Then drink as many ounces of fluid for overall hydration.” On days when you are physically active, be sure to also replace any fluid you have lost. Replace each pound lost during physical activity with 16 to 24 ounces of fluid. (2)
  • Hydrate before, during and after exercise: Goodson recommends hydrating with at least 16 to 20 ounces of fluid before your workout, 5 to 10 ounces every 20 minutes during activity, and at least 16 ounces for every pound lost during exercise after training.
  • Water is the best solution, but don’t forget the other options either: “Water is important, but flavored waters, milk, smoothies, sports drinks all contribute to overall hydration,” says Goodson. Foods high in water, like watermelon, oranges, cucumbers, and celery, can also count toward your total fluid intake and help keep muscles well hydrated.
  • Your urine can tell you a lot about how hydrated you are: Goodson explains: “Clear to pale yellow urine generally indicates adequate hydration, while darker urine can signal dehydration. » Poor output or not peeing every 3 to 4 hours are two other signals that it’s time to rehydrate.

The essential

Staying adequately hydrated is a crucial part of maintaining muscle mass. Make it a habit to carry a water bottle with you, set water reminders, and incorporate water-rich foods and other drinks like milk, electrolyte drinks, and fruit juice into your diet. food. Additionally, focusing on eating enough calories, consuming all macronutrients, getting enough sleep, and regular physical activity is essential for maintaining and building muscle mass.

News Source : www.eatingwell.com
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