A Beginner’s Guide To Staying Hydrated During Exercise
Correct hydration is essential to a person’s health and athletic performance. To perform at your best, it is important that you learn how to drink enough before, during and after exercise routines. This article will provide information on how to remain hydrated during exercise, before exercise and after exercise.
Why Is Hydration Important?
Research shows that approximately 60% of the body is water and it plays an essential role in all bodily fluids. When a person exercises, they lose a lot of fluid via breathing and sweating; in fact, some people lose as much as a litre or two in a single hour. If you do not ‘refill’ this liquid, you can become dehydrated and this can influence how well you are exercising and your general health. You will begin to feel exhausted and cannot control your body temperature. Water helps fuel your muscles; therefore, it is vital that you drink before, during and after exercise to boost your energy levels.
Hydration Before Exercising
It may not cross your mind, but it is as important to be hydrated before exercising as it is to remain hydrated when exercising. This is particularly true when exercising in areas with high climates. If you are dehydrated before you begin exercising your heart will need to work harder and your core temperature will rise more quickly. This can negatively affect your performance and can result in heat stroke. Drinking enough water will help you gain the most from your exercise session and feel good about the routine.
One method to check if you are hydrated is to examine the colour of your urine. A pale yellow colour means you are fully hydrated; however, a dark yellow urine colour means that you are seriously dehydrated and need to drink fluids without delay.
Always remember that it can take time for fluids to be absorbed by the body; therefore, you will need to drink water steadily throughout the day and at least three hours before exercising. In the ten to fifteen minutes before exercising, top up your fluid levels by drinking at least 250ml again.
Hydrating During Exercise
Staying hydrated during exercise is crucial, so you should have a water bottle on-hand regardless of what exercise you are doing. Being dehydrated can reduce your energy levels, and due to the muscle cells being three-quarters water, you will feel the strain. Drinking a small amount often instead of large amounts less often offers you the best chance of reaching your exercise targets.
The question remains, how much do you need to drink to stay sufficiently hydrated during an exercise routine? This is dependent on how long you exercise for and the amount of perspiration. Perspiration results in the body losing water and this is influenced by the person’s body size, their level of fitness, the exercise intensity and the environment’s temperature.
One of the best methods to determine how much water to drink is by responding to the body’s need for water. If you feel very thirsty, you will need to drink fluids to replenish your body and satisfy your thirst. Be sure to always have a bottle of water available when exercising so you do not become dehydrated.
Hydration After Exercising
When all the exercising is completed, there is no doubt that you will be thirsty. When drinking water, you will more than likely find it refreshing; however, it will also help your muscles recover from the exercise and restore your fluid levels. The sooner you begin to replace the fluid, the sooner your body will recover from the exercise session.
It is important that you drink water or a nutritional beverage after a workout. While you may be tempted to drink a glass of wine or another type of alcoholic beverage as a reward for exercising, this is a bad idea. Alcohol is a type of diuretic, meaning it dehydrates the body and increases the amount of urine produced by the kidneys.
Is It Possible To Drink Too Much?
By consuming too many liquids, you can experience a rather rare medical condition known as hyponatraemia. This condition involves drinking more fluid than you can lose via urinating or perspiration. The excess fluid will then dilute the salts in the body and your body’s cells begin to swell, which can result in further problems. Symptoms of hyponatraemia include a headache, vomiting or nausea, bloating, confusion and problems balancing. If you experience any of these symptoms while drinking during exercising, it is recommended you contact a doctor.