Health is a focus for many people. This is especially the case due to the recent pandemic. While some people have reported less physical activity due to the virus, others have reported an increase in exercise.
There are many factors that drive this. It could be just physical health to control medical conditions or to offset the coming of age. It could also improve appearances. Whatever the case may be, people have always looked for ways to control or reduce their calories.
One myth we’ll be looking at today is burning calories with ice water. Some people say that drinking icy water may help burn off some calories. Is this a myth or is it true? Let’s find out together.
How Water Affects the Body?
Before we get to proving or disproving the myth, let’s first have a look at how water affects the body. Generally, everyone knows that drinking water is essential for a person’s survival. However, the change in water temperature also brings about many benefits and risks.
The Benefits of Cold Water
Essential For Exercise
Researchers have found that when exercising, it is much better to drink cold water than warm water. This is attributed to the fact that people drink twice as much cold water as their warm counterparts.
This is what makes it an essential drink for exercising. Drinking cold water during or after exercising prevents people from becoming dehydrated.
When people drink it during exercise, researchers have found that they are able to exercise for longer periods of time. In addition, drinking it after a workout lessens the amount of pain and inflammation.
Another benefit we see is that it helps people stay focused. The cold temperature jolts people awake and keeps them alert. This improves decision-making, as well as the number of pain people, can tolerate.
At the same time, cold water on the skin activates receptors that can improve heart rates and release adrenaline.
Bear in mind that this is absolutely situational. People who have been in big accidents or are harbouring many types of injuries do not need to be awake and mentally aware during those moments.
Worried about the bad toxins building up within your body? Drinking tall glasses of ice water can surely help out with detoxing. This greatly helps a person’s immune system as the toxins are ushered out of the body.
The Risks of Cold Water
Shocking the Body
One risk we see with ice-cold water is that it can shock the body. It does this in two ways, the first being that it slows down the body’s metabolism to acclimate to the cold temperature
Your body will burn fewer calories as it tries to maintain a constant internal temperature. The second way is that it can cause your blood vessels to constrict. This limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach your muscles.
Athletes who drink very cold water before or during their performance can actually hinder their results. As we’ve seen, this water can slow down your metabolism and constrict your blood vessels.
This will lead to athletes feeling more fatigued as their muscles are not getting the proper nutrients. In addition, their reaction times may be slowed down and they may have a hard time catching their breath.
The Benefits of Warm or Hot Water
For people who are constantly congested, drinking warm water can help thin out mucus. This allows for easier breathing and lessens the duration of a cold.
Soothes Sore Muscles
Warm water can also help soothe sore muscles. The heat helps increase blood circulation and relaxes the muscles. This is often used as a form of physical therapy for people with conditions such as arthritis.
The Risks of Drinking Warm or Hot Water
One of the risks we see with hot water is dehydration. When our bodies overheat, we begin to sweat in order to cool down. If we do not replenish the lost fluids, we can become dehydrated.
In addition, hot water can actually damage the lining of the throat and oesophagus. This is because it can cause the blood vessels to expand and rupture.
Another risk is that hot water can scald people. This usually happens when people are taking showers or baths. The heat from the water can cause first or second-degree burns on the skin.
This is especially dangerous for young children or elderly people as their skin is much thinner and more delicate.
Can Ice Water Help Burn Calories?
Now that we’ve looked at how this water affects the body, let’s get to the bottom line – does it help burn calories?
Cold Water Does Burn Calories
Right off the bat, cold water does help to burn calories. This is largely because the cold temperature of the water also affects the body. Moreover, it affects the body’s core temperature which needs to stay regulated and in a distinct range.
So, when drinking cold water, the body puts in some additional work to help maintain the core body temperature. This added work burns calories on the side.
Before getting excited though, a caveat must be made. While calories are lost by drinking cold water, the number of calories lost is not enough to become the foundation of a good weight loss program.
How Else Does Water Help With Weight?
Apart from the extra work put in from maintaining the core body temperature, drinking water has other ways of helping out with a person’s weight.
For starters, drinking water – whatever temperature it may be – leads people to consume fewer calories throughout the day. With enough water in the body, a person won’t be as hungry anymore. This can help largely when trying to control the amount being eaten.
In addition, water is always a good substitute for other unhealthy beverages. Many beverages today are chock full of sugar and fattening ingredients. Reaching for a cold glass of water instead can help maintain a person’s weight until it is burned off.
Should You Still Drink Ice Water?
Research has shown that drinking water that is as cold as you can handle does help to burn a few calories. However, the amount is minimal and it should not be the sole vehicle for trying to lose weight.
With that said though, this doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t forego this cool beverage altogether. Drinking cold water still gives many benefits to people. This is especially true when a person is exercising.
Thus, the answer is definitely yes. People should still drink this type of water.
Refresh and Rehydrate – A Conclusion
At the end of the day, drinking cold water can help people in more ways than one. It helps to keep people hydrated, and refreshed, and can help regulate calorie intake.
At the same time, it is always good to compare it with hot or warm water, and even understand the many risks that come with all temperatures of water.
Despite health being a focus, the truth is that anything can happen at any given moment. Even something as mundane as drinking water can bring about the unexpected or the fatal.
Stay ready with the right first aid practices, so you can help out in a pinch and even help save a life.
Learn more through CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course.