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Nutrition tips and exercises to fight water retention

When we talk about water retention, we mean an accumulation of liquids in the interstitial spaces of cells. Hypertrophy of the fat cells of the subcutaneous tissue and the consequent alteration of the lymphatic system creates an inflammatory process that leads to the undesirable stagnation of liquids. The problem, therefore, does not depend on the amount of water that is drunk but on where our body will tend to store it.

To consume little sodium, to limit the consumption of foods made with refined flours and to respect the protein quota are only some of the actions to be carried out in order to improve this physical condition that affects women and men.

Causes of water retention

The causes of water retention can be many:

  • overweight and obesity
  • lack of minerals such as copper and zinc that are involved in the maturation of the collagen needed to have healthy capillaries
  • hypertension,
  • deficiency of vitamins such as A and C
  • a pro-inflammatory state caused for example by allergies or intolerances
  • Some phases of the menstrual cycle in women can lead to or increase water retention, diseases of the liver, kidneys or circulatory system

For healthy people with a balanced diet, water retention can often be caused by poor peripheral circulation, especially in the lower limbs and especially in the summer when the heat dilates the capillaries in the legs, decreasing blood pressure, which makes it harder for blood to return to the upper body, creating stagnation and consequently water retention.

Stretching exercise
Sedentary behavior is a key factor that promotes water retention, including standing upright without moving (as often happens to shop assistants). Being a multifactorial problem, it is necessary to act on several fronts. In this article, we will go into 2 of them, diet and training.

The top 3 nutritional factors that determine water retention

There are several causes of water retention due to eating styles. Let's see some of the most important:

  1. The excess of sodium is always in first place in the ranking of water retention causes. It is known to all in fact as a diet rich in this mineral, which is found for example in salt or in pre-packaged and industrial foods, tends to recall water into the extracellular compartment. The important thing is to consume the right dose and not eliminate it completely, to avoid the stimulation of a hormone responsible for regulating body fluids (aldosterone) that otherwise would retain all the water possible.
  • If on the one hand it is recommended to decrease sodium, on the other hand, it is recommended to increase the proportion of potassium and magnesium. These two elements contribute to the hydro-saline balance by moving water into the intracellular compartments. Good sources of potassium and magnesium are fruits and vegetables such as celery, banana, avocado, etc. Increasing the daily consumption of fruit and vegetables will also help to increase the body's hydration.
Better bike ride for water retention
  • Limit the consumption of refined flour and sugar in general: pasta, white bread, white flour, biscuits, sweetened drinks, etc.
Allenamento di gruppo
Respecting the protein content will help to promote cellular anabolism, which is essential for moving liquids from the extra compartment to the intracellular compartment. However, it is necessary to always balance proteins with other macronutrients.

Workout and water retention

To stimulate the circulation of liquids in the body and avoid stagnation it is necessary to perform activities that stimulate both the circulatory system and the famous calf pump, for example walking and running while cycling and swimming are recommended, although they are beneficial activities for the whole body do not have positive effects with regard to the treatment of water retention.
Water retention is a theme for many women
It is necessary to increase the muscular tone that we remember to be a displacement of liquids from the extracellular compartment to the intracellular one, to do this specific training is necessary that must consider some important rules, set out below:

  • Work with a minimum of overload (not less than 60-65% 1RM) to be able to create the right contractile stimulus to the musculature that, in this way, will prevent the stagnation of liquids in the trained areas.
  • It is useful during breaks between sets to make a slight "rolling" movement of the feet: standing in an upright station, lift the toes, rest the plant on the ground and then lift the heels. This movement serves to give a slight stimulus to the calf pump which, by its very nature, favors the flow of blood and liquids.

Remember to drink. Especially in hot periods choose mineral waters or drinks containing a good amount of mineral salts.

  • Do not train in hot, poorly ventilated places or in clothing that prevents perspiration.
  • Remember to drink. Especially in hot periods choose mineral waters or drinks containing a good amount of mineral salts.

Workout for people with a sedentary lifestyle

To plan a workout to combat water retention the lifestyle of each person must be evaluated, to plan a personalized program. In this article we will distinguish 2 cases for which practical training solutions will be given:

  •  People with a sedentary or static lifestyle or work:

In this case, it is useful to base the training on the aim of improving microcirculation in the inflamed areas.

  • 5' warm-up on the tapis roulant or step up with alternate legs. Stop when you begin to feel the burning sensation.
  • Abductor machine: get to the burning sensation. Recover about 30" and resume the set. Repeat at least 3 times. Abductor machine: arrivare fino alla sensazione di bruciore. Recuperare 30” circa e riprendere la serie. Ripetere per almeno 3 volte.
  • 10' of treadmill without slope.
  • Lunge, walking forward without weight. Stop when you start to feel the burning sensation.
With a rubber band at the ankles make a squat by abducting once the right leg and once the left one. Stop when you start to feel the burning sensation. Recover about 30" and resume the series. Repeat at least 3 times.
  • 10' of treadmill without slope. To prevent blood pooling the most important component would be an long, gradually regressed cooldown, there is no mention of this in the session, although this 10 min on the treadmill could sever this purpose if performed at moderate to low intensity.
  •  Stretching of the trained areas.
  • Apart from warm-up and stretching, which should only be done at the beginning and end of the training session, the circuit can be repeated twice.

Workout for people with an active lifestyle

Avoid excessive metabolic stress by working on the neural and neuro-muscular level, thus stimulating the muscles while respecting the levels of stress to which the body is subjected due to an overly active lifestyle.
  • Going by degrees of experience is useful:
  • Start working on the basic exercises (bench, take-off, and squat) slightly increasing the load but always with slow and controlled executions.

Once the technique is consolidated and the body has adapted to this type of work, perform the exercises with an increased training load, increasing the speed of execution but never reaching exhaustion.

Fighting water retention becomes for some a real war, a problem too often underestimated because it is only considered aesthetic when it is not. As we have just seen, a specific training programmed, combined with a correct dietary plan, can do a lot to help resolve it, avoiding the use of useless or even worse harmful commercial solutions. It would therefore be prudent to consult their doctor and receive professional medical advice, although physical activity and a balanced diet will be beneficial.
Sources and Bibliography

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