Drinking water is an indispensable part of our life. We all need to get a proper hydration so as to function well and live a healthy life. Here comes the problem for yoga lovers: Can hydration enhance the yoga performance?
When you are doing workouts, you are expected to sweat a lot, which means your body is losing water. This is a small problem, but when the situation becomes worse (dehydration), your exercising performance will be negatively affected. Therefore, the answer of the above question is absolutely “yes”. Yoga is a kind of exercise that requires strenuous strength and perseverance, and you are supposed to consume some certain amounts of water before, during and after doing yoga workouts to fully tap your potential.
I. What Benefits Can Hydration Bring to Yoga
According to a research conducted by Harvard University, your performance will lower by nearly 30% when it comes to 2-5% loss of your body fluids. And since doing workouts undoubtedly needs much more energy and water consumption, the figure (30%) may continues to soap up for an exerciser. Therefore, if you want to improve your yoga performance, you can prepare some drinking water in case of dehydration. The more you get hydrated, the better you reach the peak.
Lubricating Muscles and Joints
Guess what? Water is also a powerful lubricant that is conducive to realizing a better muscle and joint function. This magical liquid offers fundamental assistance to muscles enabling them to stretch and contract smoothly. What’s more, water plays a vital role in absorbing nutrients and removing waste from the body. While posing yoga asanas, adequate water intake helps you to feel less fatigue and fewer cramps of muscles allowing you to stick to a certain posture like handstand longer and safer, and you can be much more coordinated to some extend.
It is often the case that many yogis sweat heavily during yoga class. They may either complain that the room swelters and drains them or take all the blame to the strenuous and hard yoga asanas. In fact, the lack of water is the real culprit. Water promotes the flow of blood, during which heat is dissipated through the skin in a faster way. In other word, you can stay cooler and sweat less as long as you have assured a certain water intake. So next time please stop complaining the room conditions or the poses, instead, bring yourself a quality Simple Flask stainless steel water bottle filled with chilling water.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
You may question like “Is yoga a cardio workout?” No, yoga is not such an exercise. But, doing yoga workouts can indeed improve cardiovascular health. Here is the reason. Sticking to a certain difficult yoga posture is capable of getting the blood pumping, therefore, the more you get hydrated, the better your blood capacity and the more easily your cells are exposed to adequate oxygen. In this way, you will find yourself much more determined while nailing tiring poses.
Drinking adequate water for yoga exercise also helps to reduce the risk of developing gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and bellyache, two common symptoms resulted from dehydration. More or less, getting hydrated with a proper drinking gear helps you feel better during yoga exercises.
II. How to Stay Hydrated for Yoga
Now you have known the importance of getting hydrated for yoga, it’s time for us to see how to stay hydrated. Our conclusion comes first: you are advised to drink water before, during and after yoga exercises. As people’s physical conditions can never be the same, you may adjust the amount of water intake accordingly and see which hydration methods function best for you.
- Get Hydrated Before Yoga Exercises: During this pre-exercise stage, you are supposed to consume 20 oz of water 2 hours before starting to train your muscles and joints.
- Drink Throughout Yoga Exercises: Remember, more times and less volume for each. Drinking too much water during workouts will distract you and lower the yoga performance. It is advised to drink 2 oz of water every 20 minutes. You can take a Simple Flask water bottle of 17 oz with you. That helps a lot.
- Add Some Flavors: In order to thrill you for hydration and improve the taste of water, you can add some flavors such as electrolytes and juices into the water. Electrolytes, apart from making the water delicious, help to reduce the risk of muscle cramps by recovering losses from sweating.
- Consume Water After Yoga Workouts: The after-class hydration depends on your physical conditions. Some yogis may feel thirsty despite the fact that they have drunk a lot during exercises, whereas others may find themselves still hydrated after training. It is suggested that after you have finished yoga workouts, drink 10 to 20 oz of water.
Again, the above listed 4 hydration strategies only serve as a guide rather than a rule. If you feel thirsty, just drink. But it should be noted that frequent drinking can be a distracting element that prevents you from holding standard poses. If you plan to bring a water bottle with you, make sure that it is an insulated and quality one, and that it will not divert your focus from the exercise.
All in all, you need to consume water based on your real conditions, and remember how much water you have drunk, which can be a guide exclusively working for you in the days ahead. Also, the sip of water you long for may be an excuse for a rest during yoga workouts!
III. Ways to Monitor Hydration
The overall goal of hydration for yoga is to minimize the occurrence of dehydration without over-drinking. Although the amount of proper hydration varies among people, there are several fixed indicators to check out the degree of hydration.
- The Color of Urine: In general, the dark yellow urine indicates the state of dehydration while the light yellow one means a healthy hydrated state. Also, the darker your urine becomes, the heavier dehydrated state you are in.
- Daily body weight: Under normal circumstances, total human body fluids change little and can thus be viewed as an indicator to diagnose dehydration. By weighing body weight on a regular basis, you can clearly know your condition. However, sharp body weight change may be resulted from other diseases like hyperthyroidism, and when that happens, you must go and visit your doctor.
- Sweat loss: This approach is also related to the weighing method. You can compare the two figures before and after yoga exercises to estimate sweat loss.
Apart from water, you can also drink energy drinks (also called sports drinks) to fuel yourself. These drinks help to replenish electrolytes lost in yoga exercises due to sweating. However, it is not recommended to drink them too often as these energy drinks contain a huge amount of sugar and calories. Besides, these drinks are always adopted in hardcore workouts and the training level of yoga is comparatively low, which means you don’t have to drink such an exhilarating sport drink if you are a yoga enthusiast.
The best alternative to water is coconut water that has triple the potassium compared to other energy drinks with the same volume. Coconut water also boasts high contents of calcium, riboflavin and vitamin C.