We’ve been told our whole lives that we need to stay hydrated. And many people in the bodybuilding and weight lifting world always tell you that you’ll lose your gains if you don’t stay hydrated.
So- is there any truth to that? Does drinking water help muscle recovery?
Yes, actually! Drinking water DOES help muscle recovery! Nutrients use water in your bloodstream to travel across your body and repair those badly damaged muscles. Drinking water also regulates growth hormones, increases muscle and joint flexibility, reduces muscle soreness, and reduces overall recovery time.
But, let’s cover this more in-depth. It’s actually a really interesting topic. I used to drink Diet Coke all day and never water, but after learning about how much it helped muscle recovery, I had to make the switch.
Water Transports Nutrients To Your Muscles, Without It- No dice.
Water is super important as it transports nutrients to your muscles, and without it, your muscles will never be able to get the critical ingredients required to recover.
Think of water just as a large river near you (ie: The Mississippi River). If there’s a drought or that river runs out, you can’t get any ships through that are carrying all of the food and supplies for cities down the river.
It’s the same thing with your bloodstream. If you aren’t hydrated, it’s like having a drought almost, the delivery of critical nutrients in your bloodstream will be delayed.
When you’re trying to have your muscles recover from injury or after a hard workout, you certainly don’t want any of those nutrients to be late or delayed- you want them as soon as possible.
The more nutrients you are able to get over a shorter amount of time means a faster recovery. And nobody is complaining about that- right?
Increases Joint Flexibility
One of the most underrated parts of drinking water is how it affects your joints and muscle flexibility.
In your joints, you have synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is the whole thing that lets your joints move freely without grinding into each other constantly.
Synovial fluid is like the oil in a car’s engine, it allows all the metal to move around without scratching and breaking each other.
You know how they always tell you to change your oil? Drinking water is similar to changing your synovial fluid oil. Drinking water specifically stimulates the production of synovial fluid and helps lubricate the joints as well.
Plus, it helps flush out any toxins in the area and increase general circulation to the area.
Remember, when you’re dehydrated- your circulation is reduced, which makes it harder to move in general.
Another important thing to note is that water boosts the growth of cartilage cells in the body.
Without Water, Your Recovering Muscle Will Be Stiff
Muscle recovery is tough- and without water, the recovering muscles will be stiff.
Here’s the thing, if you injured your muscle, you may have a hard time moving it all. You might even have your arm in a cast. Or, you may have just had a super intense workout and your muscles are super sore.
Regardless, without water, your recovering muscles will be stiff. With reduced circulation, your muscles have a harder time moving around. That water is critical in allowing your muscles to move.
Water Allows Your Muscles To Properly Contract
A big thing with recovering muscles is that they will have a hard time contracting as other muscles can.
This is because when a muscle is damaged through either working out or injury, there will be a lower level of potassium and magnesium present in the muscle.
Water will reach the area and allow electrolytes like potassium and magnesium to properly activate. This allows the muscles to properly contract and retract.
If you are low on water, your body will have a difficult time activating these electrolytes. This means whether you are recovering from the gym, or injury- it will HURT to move that muscle without water.
We already know what a pain it can be to move those muscles in the first place, but drinking water can seriously alleviate that pain and make it so much easier.
Regulates Growth Hormones
Drinking water regulates your growth hormones.
When you’re trying to get a muscle to recover, you want hormones that regulate that growth and repair.
If you are dehydrated, your hormones can get out of wack. And this can reduce the time it takes for your muscles to repair themselves.
So, it’s a good idea to just stay hydrated so you don’t get behind on things.
Reduces Overall Recovery Time
While I’ve just gone through a ton of reasons why water helps your muscles, most people don’t realize that all of these actually reduce the overall recovery time.
A huge thing with muscle recovery is this weird thing with your body going: HEY, IF YOU DON’T HAVE THIS ONE SPECIFIC THING, I CAN’T DO ANYTHING.
Your body has a tendency to basically minimize muscle recovery if you’re dehydrated. The truth is, you have much more important organs that require more water like your heart, liver, and kidneys.
Your body will always prioritize these organs before your muscle. So, if you don’t have a surplus of water- your muscle recovery will be delayed.
Drinking water will give a surplus of water in your body, allowing it to be used for things like muscle recovery and not for just the necessities like organs.
Conclusion of Does Drinking Water Help Muscle Recovery?
Yes, drinking water does help muscle recovery! Here are just some of the amazing things that just drinking water can do for you:
- Transport Critical Nutrients to Your Muscles
- Allows muscles to contract, retract, and use electrolytes effectively.
- Reduce overall recovery time.
- Increases joint flexibility.
- Increases muscle flexibility.
- Regulates growth hormones.
So, drinking water will help muscle recovery. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do for muscle recovery.