The debate over whether cold or warm water is more beneficial has been going on for a while. Some argue that warm water is better because it doesn’t require as much energy for your body to heat to the necessary 98.6°F (37°C). Others say that cold water is better because your body absorbs it more easily.
So what’s the best temperature for your water?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) recommend drinking water that is between 50-59 degrees F (10-15 degrees C). Cold, or rather cool water is absorbed in the body more quickly than warm water. Faster absorption is not the only benefit of drinking cool water during runs. Drinking cool water gives you an added psychological effect (makes you feel cooler) and physiological effect (actually makes you cooler).
Warm water is not necessarily worse than cold water; however, when you are exercising, it may not help replace fluids as quickly and it will not have the same cooling effect. The good news, cold water doesn’t make that much of a difference.
So which is it: Cold or Warm?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, when you drink cold water as you exercise the body will simultaneously cool itself down and heat the water up. You sweat because your body wants to maintain a comfortable 98.6°F (37°C). Drinking cold water aids in this process as it allows your body to cool down from the inside and absorb the water your body needs to maximize its cooling efforts of sweat.
Bottom Line: Drink Water
Water is good. Drink it cold or drink it warm. Drink water so you can avoid dehydration. Drink water so you don’t suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Drink water so your body can continue to exercise. Just drink water.
NOTE: I’m not a doctor, but when I run I drink a lot of water, cold and warm. I suggest you do the same.