So, you sweat a lot after 30 minutes of run on the treadmill. You have finished a bottle of water but you are not sure whether you have drank enough. You know about the importance of drinking enough. Prehydration (drink before working out) and rehydration (after working out) are important to maintain cardiovascular health, proper body temperature and muscle function. Inadequate water consumption can be physically harmful. Loss of as little as 2% of one’s body weight due to sweating, can lead to a drop in blood volume. When this occurs, the heart has to work harder in order to move blood through the bloodstream.
Water is the best option for most exercisers. We should drink water before and during exercise because doing this can enhance your athletic performance. However, several factors play a role in your fluid needs for exercise:
- Exercise duration – the longer you are involved in high intensity workout, the more water you need.
- Thirst alone is not a good indicator of how much you need to drink, because your thirst is quickly depressed by drinking very small amounts of water, and once you notice thirst, you are already dehydrated. An easy way to check your hydration level is to notice the color of your urine. If your urine is a dark, orange color, you are probably fairly dehydrated. Ideally, a hydrated body excretes clear-colored (or as close to as possible) urine. I am not asking you to go to pee every 15 minutes to check, but you should know your body pretty well. Pay attention the urine color when you pee after your workout next time.
Here are some tips for replacing your fluids lost during exercise:
- Drink every 15 minutes during exercise. Bring a water bottle with you. As I mentioned earlier, do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, you probably have already lost two or more cups of your total body water.
- Drink cool water as it is more quickly absorbed by your body than warmer water and it is less likely to cause cramps. Check out the article of Drink Warm or Cool Water During Workout?
- Pay attention to how you feel as well. If you are tired, suffering from headache, or experience cramping, you are dehydrated.
- Do not substitute coffees, teas, soft drink or alcoholic beverages for water. Caffeine and alcohol can act as diuretics, causing you to lose water through increased urination.
- Many of the energy drinks available on the market are unnecessary for the average 60 minute workout. Advertisements would like us to believe that a great deal of sodium and potassium is lost through regular exercise. This is not true for a normal or average workout, such as an aerobics class. Check out article of Why You Should Not Drink Energy Drink Too Often? and Is It Safe to Drink Sports Drink On Regular Basis?
If you are an endurance athlete and workout for longer periods of time (several hours), you may want to opt for a sports drink to fuel your muscles and replace salt that are lost in sweat. Juices, smoothies, lemonade and milk are a few water alternatives. As of how to carry more water during your exercise, especially marathon, check out Nathan Speedbelt.
But nothing can beat water. Plain old water, with zero caffeine and calories, is the best choice.
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