Whether an individual is getting a drink of water, taking a shower, or swimming in a pool, the temperature of the liquid has a definite effect on the body. It affects the biological and chemical reactions within the body. Water temperature affects the body in a myriad of ways, some of which may seem contradictory. Fortunately, the human body is a wonder of bioengineering and able to adapt.
Drinking cool liquids help reduce internal body temperature. Cooler water is transferred through the stomach and into the intestines quicker than warm beverages for faster hydration. The ideal temperature for drinking water is between 50 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a guideline closely followed by professional athletes and studies have demonstrated that water temperatures of 60°F is the optimum temperature for initiating a sweat response and rehydration.
Warm water has the surprising ability to aid in fat burning and curbing appetite. Warm water mobilizes molecules within the body when ingested and makes it easier for the digestive system to burn calories.
The temperature of the water when swimming is important as it can affect the core body temperature and heart rate. When immersed in water of 102°F, moderate cardiovascular stress and hyperthermia take place. While few people will encounter those temperatures, it’s a good example of how water temperature can affect body function. The average temperature of a shower is 112 degrees, but doesn’t cause as much stress on the body since exposure is shorter in duration.
Conversely, swimming pool water kept at less than 78 degrees Fahrenheit will leave swimmers shivering when they emerge as the body tries to warm itself. Whether swimming in a pool or the ocean, water temperatures of less than 70°F makes breathing more difficult. During Olympic competition, water is maintained between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
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