Ever stopped to ponder the fact that our bodies are about 70% water? Now, take a moment to reflect on your daily water intake. Are you giving your body the hydration it craves? How can you be sure you're drinking enough? Well, it’s not just about how thirsty you feel – in fact, research shows that thirst often kicks in when you're already dehydrated. 
Proper and consistent hydration isn’t just a recommendation; it's a key player in how you feel and how you look. Experts suggest downing at least 8 glasses of water every day. Even if you're mindful of your diet, water is non-negotiable as hydration isn't just about satisfying your thirst or replenishing lost fluids. It’s about ensuring the health of your muscles, which are a whopping 75% water! You might be focusing on proteins, carbs, and fats to build those strong muscles, but water often takes a back seat. 
Let's uncover why water is the unsung hero in your journey to robust muscle health. 

Increasing muscle strength 

Building muscles isn’t just about pumping iron; it’s about helping your muscles to reach their full potential. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed that a mere 1.5% water loss in the body significantly reduced muscle strength. 
For all the effort you put into your workouts, dehydration can undo a lot of it. Performance during aerobic exercises like running or cycling begins to nosedive when dehydration exceeds 2-3% body weight loss. Knowing this, it's just common sense to keep the water flowing regularly. 

Preventing muscle breakdown 

Now, let's talk about the critical role water plays in preventing muscle breakdown. The water inside your cells determines whether your muscles break down or keep growing. If there’s a shortage of water, the cells shrink, and the proteins break down. Essentially, muscle growth grinds to a halt. By upping your water intake, you're essentially paving the way for increased muscle mass. Water directly influences the construction and strength of new muscle. It's like the building blocks of your muscles are floating in water, ready to create a stronger, healthier you. 

Massage and hydration 

Ah, massages – the ultimate treat for your muscles. But did you know that your hydration status plays a pivotal role in enhancing the massage experience? Here’s why: 
Before the massage: Hydrated muscles are much easier to massage. So, make it a point to drink plenty of water a day or two before your massage to maximise its effectiveness. Your muscles will thank you later! 
After the massage: Massages stimulate your fat cells, releasing stored toxins and chemicals. While this is great for your body, it can make you feel a bit lightheaded temporarily, so it’s really important that you hydrate properly afterward. Drinking plenty of water post-massage helps your body flush out these toxins, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised. 
So, what’s the takeaway from all this? Whether you're hitting the gym, going for a run, or treating yourself to a massage, staying hydrated isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a necessity. Invest in a reusable water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere, reminding you to hydrate and ensuring you meet your body's water needs. 
Thinking about becoming a sports massage therapist? Find out more about our introduction days and courses here! If you’d like more information, you can also get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to help. 
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