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Water: Chilled, Stirred or Straight from the Pool Post-Exercise?

Kymberly's water bottleQ: I know that drinking water is very important before, during, and after exercising.  Does it make a difference if the water is cold or room temperature?

Noel, St. Joseph, MO

Alexandra: Who cares? Water is boring. The only people who should be drinking water are kids in highly chlorinated pools – big gulps – just to make their parents crazy. —beep beep beep important interruption—– I myself drink water. But after 20-some years of teaching exercise, I have not found that the temperature perks up the flavor any, now does it? But since I am a consummate professional (I think that means I am a French clear soup), I definitely recommend water. It’s so much cheaper than flavored water. Fewer calories too. And you pee or sweat it out anyway, so why invest your hard-earned money and “individual plastic bottle” guilt? Me, I care more about the non-plastic, recyclable water bottle that your water comes in than the temp.

Kymberly: Yes, drinking water is super deluxe important for all people, especially active ones. Read our post on water’s benefits and how it acts to help keep you youthful. No, the temp does not matter, unless it matters to you. My work here is done. Oh, except to say that it’s also good to avoid sugary water drinks whether hot, cold, or in between.

Alexandra: If you are working out hard enough to want water, you won’t care about the water temperature anyway. You’ll be happy to grab whatever is closest and easiest. Am I right or what? However, do you prefer cold water? If so, then you will drink more, get rehydrated sooner and be an all-around healthier, good, popular person.

Okay, technically speaking, cold water is absorbed by the body faster than room temp water, according to some research. However in a 2007 position statement by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) on water temperature, ACSM mostly just wants you to drink enough water to stay hydrated and avoid renal failure, dehydration, mental & cognitive performance decreases, exercise-induced hyponatremia, rhabdomyolysis or other grave illnesses, such as death. I only said all that stuff to distract you and make you think I read the research, but all I managed to do was scare myself. Gotta go. A jug of cold water is calling me, followed by a jug of room temp water. Maybe then I’ll be able to pronounce “rabbit – my – old – sis” or whatever that last illness is.

Dear waterlogged and dehydrated readers alike: Do you like water? Do you have a preferred temperature? Can you pronounce “rhabdomyolysis”?

ACTION: Subscribe to our site but only if you want your fitness questions answered by longtime pros.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

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