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Drink Warm or Cool Water During Workout?

October 31st, 2007 · 15 Comments ·
 
 

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You may like cold water, but probably your mum have told you that warm water is better. Isn’t true? How about drinking warm water during and after your run on treadmill?

Some people recommend cold water when one is vigorously exercising due to following reasons:

  • During intense physical activity, body temperature rises above the normal 37°C. Drinking cool water lowers the body’s temperature to its normal range. Sweating from running, kicking and jumping also helps lower the body’s temperature. In fact, studies show that cool water is absorbed more quickly from the stomach than warm water. It gives an immediate effect of cooling off the body. This makes dehydration less likely, allowing us to play harder and enjoy the sport even more. Source
  • Second, contradict to what most believe, cold foods and beverages do not harm any of our internal organs, so we can feel free to enjoy them.

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Another school of thought, including my mum, believes that cold water will give a “shock” to our bodies, especially during exercise.
They believe that warm water should be the choice. For me, the water should not be so hot that it burns your mouth, or so cold that it is uncomfortable.

Personally, I prefer room temperature or slightly cool water when I work out in gym. The preferred water temperature is influenced by cultural and learned behaviors. If coldness helps you to drink large quantities of fluid while you are exercising, then keep it cool.

By the way, our bodies do not expend calories when absorbing cold water. In other words, drinking cool water will not make our body to lose weight. So, it is a myth about losing weight by drinking cold water.

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Cold, room temperature or hot water, which one do you prefer when you are exercising?

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15 responses so far ↓
  • Angie Tan // Oct 31, 2007 at 11:39 AM

    :-)… by the time i finish some of my exercises, the cold water has turned to room temperature water.

    however, while @ outdoor sports, i do enjoy cold water as it revitalizes me faster.

  • sylvesteR // Nov 1, 2007 at 1:52 AM

    Uhm, I thought when you exercise , you release heat right? But body temperature rises as well….soooooo, cold water is always the better choice. Just like what you said, cold water promotes absorption, so you can drink more to make up for you dehydrated body.

  • Lisan // Nov 2, 2007 at 1:40 AM

    I usually prefer cold water after working out and sweating like a wet fish. Sometimes I do drink warm or hot water as I always remembers my mom says “Never drink cold water after you perspired, it’s very bad for health. Imagine throwing cold water onto a hot wok after cooking, what’ll happen? Smoke gush out immediately right? That’s what’ll happen when we drink cold water. Drink hot or warm water is the best.” Whatever it is, I think as long as I take plain water and avoid sugary drink I’m ok. My gym provide all kinds of drinks there but I don’t want to risk putting back all those calories and sugar that I’d worked hard to burned off! Sometimes when I worked too hard, my body will tell me “Go! Go for the delicious cold ice lemon tea, it sure will taste great since you perspired so much. I need those energy!” Then I may take half a cup of it but very rarely.

  • sadagopan // Feb 22, 2008 at 5:11 PM

    Hi Team,
    My body is always hot. I take minimum 3 – 4 litres of water a day. I want to know how to make my body to cool? Give me some suggestion

    Thanks

  • alifah halim // Feb 25, 2008 at 1:34 AM

    I need to know, why during and after my work out, my hands are very cold.. (like an ice)…. although my body sweat…this only happen on my hands..
    Sometimes i am quite worry..i’ve been thingking wheter am i normal or not..
    Pls let me know..tq

  • Howard Chang // Mar 28, 2008 at 8:26 AM

    I recently stumbledupon your website and am finding a lot of practical and often times hilarious posts. This entry caught my attention the most as I am slowly backtracking through all your entries.

    I recently got interested in fitness and have read quite a lot of articles on such topics. I can’t be quite certain where I read this but I recall it may have been Men’s Fitness that mentioned drinking water that was substantially colder than room temperature may hinder the metabolism’s cycle. I personally prefer cold water(even iced water) when it comes to a refreshment after an arduous workout but have recently switched to drinking lukewarm water or room temp. water and have noticed a slight improvement in which my body handles my workout. Of course, with any kind of progress when it comes to exercising and working out there are placebo effects(it could be all just in my mind) so it’s very hard to pin point what works and what doesn’t. Additionally, everyone’s body functions differently so it would be hard to gauge how each individual’s body would react to such stimulus or lack of.

    In any case, thanks for the insightful post. I thought it was very well put.

  • Kevlin // Aug 4, 2008 at 8:14 AM

    I heard from the old people they say that after exercising is bad to drink water straight away and far more worst is cold water. They said that drinking warm or hot is still ok but not cold example like ice water. It is said that it will cause stroke is that true or a myth?

  • Brandon // Sep 23, 2008 at 5:21 PM

    Hey there. Just thought I clarify something here. Drinking cool water does help your body to lose weight. Our body actually heats up the cool water (40 degress Fahrenheit) to body core temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. So yes, your body does burn calories. Consuming 4 to 5 liters will burn about 150 to 250 calories per day.

    Reference:
    http://www.drdarden.com/readTopic.do;jsessionid=D01D872934F843260885C81DD79524EB.hydra?id=383704

  • Anon // Jan 18, 2009 at 2:37 PM

    I think the fallacy there is that DRDarden assumes that the only way we regulate body temp is the body generating extra heat. The most common way we regulate our body heat is clothing. I think most people would compensate for drinking ice cold water by wearing more clothing.

  • Dana // Apr 7, 2009 at 11:29 PM

    This seems contrary to what my trainer told me. In order to burn fat, your body needs to heat up. If you are constantly cooling the body, then how do you expect to burn fat?

    I drink room temperature water with a special sports drink flavouring that my gym supplies for the type of program i am on (snowboard specific workout). I drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day. More on my cardio days.

    There are many schools of thought on this subject. Chinese medicine doctors believe you should drink water at room temperature. And sports experts agree that a pinch of salt in your water helps the body in intense workouts because some people sweat more than others and sodium is lost through sweat. Therefore it is important to replenish the sodium especially in competitive athletes.

    I personally don’t like cold water ever. I always drink it at room temperature.

  • Derek // May 12, 2009 at 7:38 AM

    @Brandon: Don’t always believe what you read on the internet. Let’s take a look at how much energy it takes to heat a glass of water.

    Okay let’s assume we have 500mL of water. (Which also just so happens to be 500g of water.)
    Let define some variables:
    Q – Energy
    c- Specific heat capacity of water (4.186 joule/g °C)
    T- Change in temp (lets assume a change from 17 degrees to body temperature which is 37 degrees Celsius, a 20 degree change)
    m- mass of water

    Q=mcT
    Q=(500g)(4.186 J/g °C)(20°C)
    Q= 41860 J

    Now we convert Joules to calories.

    Q=10 004.78 calories

    Seems pretty impressive, eh? Wait, there’s a problem here. These calories are not the same calories we use in nutrition. In fact the calories that you use in everyday life are kilocalories or “nutritional calories”. There are 1000 calories in a nutritional calorie… so that means we use:

    Q = 10 calories to drink a half a litre of cold water. Not so impressive.

    So in short, yes it takes calories to heat up water… but not a lot.

    For example if you drank one can of Coke, you’ve consumed ~150 calories. That means you’d have to drink 7.5 liters of cold water to offset that. Good luck with that.

  • phiG // Aug 13, 2009 at 9:46 PM

    wouldn’t you want your muscle tissue to be warmer to expend calories instead of storing energy? from what i’ve read in research abstracts is that warmer muscles = relaxed muscles. And relaxed muscles have a much more permeable membrane to absorb nutrients, and the contractions flush waste through, hence how peristalsis works in the intestine to filter out food. I imagine that drinking colder water would slow down this metabolic process. You don’t want to absorb water, you want to absorb nutrients in the water, and if they can’t pass through the membrane of your intestine, then you’re probably not getting the nutrients you’d need to be healthy. This probably explains why warm alcohol passes through the bloodstream faster and why when people throw back mixed drinks they think they can take down more than they can until BAM! they stand up and it hits them. There’s probably a good reason that caffeine is so easily dispensed in warm beverages, and it might have more to do with the temperature of the drink than in the actual content. I’d be careful about telling people to drink cold water unless you can present evidence that supports your claim.

  • Bobo // Dec 19, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Emm.. i think that drinking cold water could be bad because the theory of convection current stating that the cold water is denser than warm water. By this, we should know that cold water COULD cause our weight to be heavier than before.. it’s true!! i did drink cold water after exercising and has been doing it for a very long long time.. it’s not that bad actually.. it depends on how much you consume the water itself.

  • Haley // Jul 29, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    For everyone who doesn’t understand why being cold and drinking cold water helps you louse weight, it is because for your body to absorb anything you consume it has to heat it to your natural body temperature of 98.6 degrees fahrenheit. Therefore when you drink cold water your body uses energy to heat it up, and every is measured in calories. Even you are cold your body uses energy to warn you back up, the body must be 95°F to sustain itself, so when you are cold avoid layering up!

  • Bill // Sep 1, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    I think the point most people are missing is that, yes, your body must heat up the water if the water is cold, BUT this assumes the body is wanting to heat the ENTIRE body up.

    Example: If your body temp is 98 and that is your regular body temp, then you exercise and get it up to 102. Your body is now sweating and attempting to cool down. If you drink a glass of cold water (40 degrees), your body will not continue to cool down, but then burn calories to heat the water. The body will heat exchange with the water naturally. It will reduce the body’s need to cool down through sweating (although likely marginally). Therfore NO new calories were burned in this case. If you are sitting around the house not doing anything, that might change the equation.

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