I struggled to catch my breath, my mouth was so dry that I couldn’t swallow and I knew we had only just begun. It was 45 minutes into the SWAT Selection physical tryouts and I had little left in my tank. I vividly remember the moment the Cadre handed my running group a single bottle of water. Each member of the running group took a drink and passed it back to the next member of the group. The intent was to allow each of us one drink, however, once the guy in front of me had the bottle, he decided to drink it all and pass me the empty trash. Although that guy was the definition of a Blue Falcon, the trouble didn’t begin with him. In reality, much of my struggle was due to a lack of adequate hydration in the days leading up to the tryouts.
The benefits of proper hydration are well known, however, the majority of us (myself included) seldom place enough emphasis on drinking enough water throughout the day. There are a number of reasons why this is the case and for most of us, it is simply not at the top of our priority list. With our attention divided amongst physical training, diet, work and family time, the thought of adding even one more positive habit can seem like too much additional burden.
Most people simply don’t quite understand the benefits of proper hydration and their training/development has suffered as a result. If you are one of those people, let me give you a few reasons as to why hydration is so critical to anyone who is trying to improve their physical as well as their mental health.
1: Water is critical to regulate your body temperature.
- As your temperature and heart rate increase due to a lack of water, both your physical and mental performance decreases.
2: Faster recovery time
- Proper hydration flushes your body of unwanted toxins and it helps your muscles recover at a faster rate.
3: Lubricates joints
- Your joints are lubricated by synovial fluid. Water is a key component of that fluid and without adequate hydration, your joints are much more likely to suffer from wear and tear (especially as we age).
I’ve found the easiest way to ensure you consume an adequate amount of water is to set a schedule and stick to it, rather than just relying on feeling thirsty and a convenient opportunity.
If your goal is to drink one gallon of water a day, by noon you should have consumed close to half of the water (depending on the time you wake and go to sleep). By 1800, I should be ¾’s of the way through etc. Consuming more water is probably one of the simplest new habits to develop, yet it has some of the most dramatic positive results.