Written by Allyson Jones
You’ve finished a set, and it’s time to get a drink. You’ve been thinking about your ice-cold water bottle sitting against the back wall. You know it will be a much-needed contrast to the warmth of your body and the heat of the room.
At the moment, you’re probably not questioning whether room temperature water would be better for your workout, but in fact, this very debate is subject of much study.
Turns out cold water takes the cake in the debate. (Don’t focus too much on the cake metaphor; this is a workout article.) Drinking cold water before, during, and after your workout is the healthiest and most effective way to hydrate your body.
When you exercise, your body temperature rises. This causes your muscles to loosen and calories to burn. It has been proven that drinking cold water can help delay the rise in body temperature that happens when working out. This can improve workouts by helping you to last longer and exercise harder. A study done by BioMed Central concluded that the participants who drank cold water during their workouts were able to delay their increase in core-body temperature two times longer than those who drank room-temperature water. Drinking cold water during your workout can help you last longer and, in turn, burn more calories.
Why is it important to keep your body temperature moderate when exercising? If your body gets too hot, it instinctively makes you sweat by circulating more blood through your skin. Sweating is healthy; it detoxifies and cools you off, but in excess it can dehydrate you. The main problem with more blood circulating through your skin is that it leaves less blood to go to your muscles. This includes your most important muscle: your heart. This lack of blood causes your heart rate to increase. Drinking cold water helps you keep your core temperature moderate, which helps enhance your workout and defend against a dramatic increase in heart rate. Not letting your heart rate get too high is one of the best ways to ensure lasting longer in a workout. When your heart rate gets too fast it can cause you to become dizzy and tired. A fast heart rate can also cause shortness of breath and even chest pains. When this happens, you are no longer able to perform at your best.
So when it’s finally time to get your drink and head home, be proud of yourself for packing that ice-filled bottle. Going for the cold water over room temperature water is the best way to improve your workout. You know what you’re doing!