H20 - Cold vs. Room Temp - Which is Better?

posted Jun 5, 2018, 6:02 AM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 5:09 AM ]
There's nothing like a nice tall glass of cold water on a hot day. It refreshes, energizes and cools. But is cold water better than warm for the body (or vice versa)? As with many fitness & health-related topics, experts are divided on the topic. According to Columbia University's 'Go Ask Alice'(1) column, cold water is absorbed more quickly from within the stomach than warm water. In researching this, it seems many other experts agree, though some argue that the reverse is true. Either way, whether you should opt for warm or cold may in part come down to timing and/or the purpose of your water consumption.

When exercising, for example, although research is limited, according to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition(2), participants who consumed cold water during their exercise sessions "were able to delay their increase in core body temperature for at least 30 minutes." This same study showed an increase in performance in participants who drank cold water compared to those who drank it warm, but it depended on the mode of exercise (bench press results indicated a slight decrease in performance). Overall, the study would seem to support the hypothesis that drinking cold water while exercising provides some benefits. Bear in mind, however, that environment can be a factor - other researchers have found little benefit to drinking cold water while exercising in a cold environment, as stated in this same study.

Drinking to hydrate - As stated above, many experts agree that cold water is absorbed more quickly than warm water. It may well come down to preference, though. Some people prefer one over the other, and if you have sensitive teeth, for example, you might naturally go for warm over cold. Either way, drink up because it's all good for hydrating the body!

Weight Loss - Is cold water better if you're trying to lose weight? There's an excellent article(3) on Jillian Michaels' website that addresses this topic. Drinking cold water does result in your body burning extra calories; however, it may not make a significant difference, especially if you're not addressing bad food habits. Check out the article on the link below. It's a great read!

Overall, it's really up to you which you choose, and both are the RIGHT choice. We need the water either way. Chug-a-lug! 

Nancy Ehle is Founder & CEO of Witness 4 Fitness in Calgary, Alberta Canada. She holds several certifications in the fitness industry, including Group Fitness Instructor, Health Coach and Master Walk 15® Instructor through organizations such as the American Council on Exercise and Walk at Home®.  Walk Strong Calgary is a division of Witness 4 Fitness, focusing on low-impact group exercise programs suitable for all ages and fitness levels. 
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