Emily Werner became fascinated with movement and exercise at a young age.
A lifelong athlete, her fascination evolved over time, from building her own strength and speed, to learning how to make others stronger, faster and, most importantly, healthier.
“A huge element of that is the fuel that we put into our bodies,” Werner said. “Everyone eats, but people don’t always know how to eat appropriately to optimize health and performance.”
Now, that’s Werner’s job.
In 2020, after earning a master’s degree in human nutrition from Drexel University, Werner became the team dietitian for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Werner plans team meals, consults with players, and collaborates with the 76ers’ trainers and physical therapists to ensure the athletes’ health is being taken care of outside and in.
A key part of that is maintaining proper hydration. Enter Mountain Valley Spring Water, which is now readily available for the team at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex.
“One of the players requested it!” Werner said of how our purely sourced, premium natural spring water found its way to Philly. “I supported it — Mountain Valley is a great tasting water!”
Werner said finding a water you love to drink is a good way to help stay hydrated, a goal that’s on many a vision board as we all resolve to drink more water. But proper hydration becomes especially essential when dealing with professional athletes.
“NBA players are larger in body size and typically have more muscle mass than the average person,” Werner said. “They also train or compete almost constantly, which means they’re losing more body water on a given day. Both of these reasons result in NBA players having higher hydration needs than the average person.”
While her players’ needs may be higher, they aren’t all that different from everyone else’s. With water making up some 60% of the human body, Werner said maintaining “hydration homeostasis” (i.e. the status quo) has a major impact on health and wellbeing.
She said adequate hydration is essential to almost all physiological functions, from breathing and thinking to, of course, exercise and endurance.
“You can imagine that dehydration could lead to some pretty serious issues,” she said.
To maintain proper hydration, Werner said it’s important to replenish not just lost water but also lost minerals and nutrients, especially after exercise or strenuous activity.
For her players, she recommends a “programmed drinking” approach where they drink water consistently instead of waiting to feel thirsty before taking a sip.
That same mindset, according to Werner, can apply to everyone.
“I recommend people carry around a reusable water bottle that can act as a consistent reminder to drink throughout the day,” she said.