Why Water is Important for Walkers


I always advocate having water to hand when walking, and whilst I probably don’t drink enough water day to day, if I am going on a long walk I will always have at least one bottle with me. I also always try and drink some before I go, and once I’ve taken my shoes off when I get back will have a glass then too.

Your body is made up of about 60% water, so it is a vital liquid you need to keep your body healthy. When you are exercising, whether that be walking, working out, or maybe playing team sports, it’s important to re-hydrate your body regularly.

After all, you are bound to be sweating, and as such, you are losing a great deal of liquid from your body. If you don’t top up your fluids then you run the risk of putting your body under stress.

How much liquid can your body lose during exercise?

When we are exercising, or even just when it’s hot, our body dispels heat by sweating. During intense activity such as when you are playing football or tennis this could be as much as 8 pints in an hour! Now, I am pretty sure that I don’t sweat to that level when walking, but I know I am only human so take my water consumption seriously.

How much water should I drink before I walk?

Personally I always try to drink a pint of water if it’s hot, before I leave for a walk. Now obviously this may mean that you need to wee, so I have read that it’s wise to drink a pint of water a couple of hours before you walk. That way you can relieve yourself just before you leave for a walk, and have a top up smaller glass of water just before you step out the door.

Now of course, if you go for a walk soon after you wake up, then that won’t be possible, but seeing as you won’t have been drinking for probably 8 hours or more, then you MUST have a drink before you set off.

What will happen if I have not drunk enough water when I go for a walk?

Imagine if you will that you are out on a walk, say 5 or 6 miles. And you set off just after you woke up in the morning, but didn’t have a drink of water before you set off.

It won’t be long before you feel thirsty. And when you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. If you could wee, you would see that it is dark in colour, when ideally it would be straw coloured.

There’s a good chance you will start to feel like a headache is coming on. You may well feel dizzy and light-headed. This is caused by a lack of essential body salts such as sodium, potassium, calcium bicarbonate and phosphate.

There’s also a good chance you will lose concentration and become irritable – no fun for any walking partner! So don’t put yourself in this danger, and take plenty of water on board both before and during your walk. In addition, you should also drink a glass of water after you have finished your walking workout.

Water consumption when walking at high altitude

If you are going to be walking at a high altitude you need to be drinking more water than usual. So if you are heading up to walk on the mountains, or overseas at altitude, then you need to take in extra water. You will be working harder due to the fact that there is less oxygen for your body to use, involving heavier breathing to gain more oxygen.

Walking in a hot climate

If you are walking in a hot climate with low humidity you also need to be drinking more water than usual.

 The rationale why in a hot climate with low humidity is because the hotter climate will cause you to sweat more, but the lower humidity will prevent your sweat from cooling you off as efficiently, thus making you sweat more just to cool you off a bit.  

Therefore, you need to drink even more water in order to keep your body in good working order when you are walking in such extreme conditions.

Will drinking water help me lose weight?

A small study suggests that drinking more water can help you to burn more calories per day.  So if you are walking to lose weight, then drinking lots of water will help.

However, before you think that you can just drink your way to losing weight, note that the study shows that you can lose around 50 calories per litre of water.  In other words, not a whole lot of weight will be lost by just drinking water; good, physical activity such as walking is needed in combination with drinking water to see any real, tangible weight loss results.  

But good exercise will make you feel better, help you make better food choices, and drinking water will help to suppress hunger pangs, so there’s no doubt it will aid weight loss.

Conclusion

As you can see, water is your best friend before, during, and after your walking workouts.  While drinking alone won’t help you to lose much weight, it will help to keep your body in good working order so you can complete your workouts strongly and burn the most calories possible.  

In addition, sweating during your workouts will cause you to lose vital liquid. Liquid you must replenish by drinking a reasonable amount of water when you are thirsty so that you don’t overheat and collapse from a lack of balance between your water levels and your electrolyte levels.  

By following the guidelines and advice above, you can easily maximize the effectiveness of your walking workouts by drinking an appropriate amount of water before, during, and after your workouts.

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