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We all know that we should stay hydrated while working out, but most people don’t know how much water they are meant to drink each day and how often. Our bodies are around 60 percent water, which means the bodily fluid plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the organs. When you exercise, you lose a lot of fluids – up to a liter or two an hour – through sweating and breathing. Therefore, you need to replenish the lost fluids by staying hydrated. Otherwise, you risk getting dehydrated, which can affect your overall health and your ability to work out, that’s why knowing how to stay hydrated while exercising is vital.

Why Hydration Is Crucial During Exercise

As you may know, water helps us control internal body temperature and fuel the muscles. So, drinking water before, during, and after a workout is essential for your wellbeing. Water is also important in maintaining a healthy heart and brain.

Being well hydrated improves your overall performance during workouts, your quality of sleep and facilitates detox and weight loss. Most people tend to forget to hydrate, and this can lead to dehydration.

Dehydration can cause serious health issues like excessive sweating because of the increased body temperature, hence overheating. It can also lead to muscle fatigue and problems with mental function, which can lead to bigger problems like dizziness or fainting.

How to Hydrate Before Exercising

A general rule of thumb for those who work out in a hot climate is to take at least two to four liters of water before exercising. Of course, this will depend on factors like your age, weight, and height.

If your aim is to shed extra pounds, you should drink more water since it helps flush out unwanted toxins from your body. Staying hydrated before you start your workout will help keep your core temperature down and improve your heart function. You won’t be fatigued quickly, meaning you can push yourself to get the most out of your exercises.

Important tip: It takes time before fluids are absorbed into your body. So, drink water steadily throughout the day and before your workout. After that, you can drink more water if you feel thirsty.

How to Stay Hydrated While Exercising

It’s crucial to drink water during a workout. If you’re going on a run, take a bottle of water with you. Since dehydration can affect your performance, you won’t be able to achieve your goals. 

Having water with you allows you to be drinking a little and often, giving you the best chance to hit your exercise targets.

How much water should I drink while exercising?

Proper hydration is critical for any kind of exercise. The amount of water you drink will vary depending on the intensity of the workouts. The more active you are, the more water you’ll lose, hence the more water you need to drink.

Additionally, the amount of water you drink daily will be determined by the temperature, your overall health, the size of your body, and the type of exercise you engage in. Try to sip water, at least during every break from your cardio or workout.

The best way to know how dehydrated you are is to check the color of your pee. The clearer your pee, the more hydrated your body is.

How to Hydrate After Exercise

After you’re done with all the sweating and hard work for the day, you must replenish the lost energy and electrolytes. Restoring your lost fluids will help in muscle recovery. So, the sooner you drink water after exercising, the quicker the recovery.

Be sure to drink water until the color of your urine returns to a hydrated color (clear).

Important tip: You might be tempted to reward yourself with a pint of alcohol after your exercise. However, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it removes water from the body by increasing the amount of urine your kidney produces.

What About Sports Drinks?

There are hundreds of dozens of sports drinks on the market, with stars like Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock”, creating their own sports drinks. But are they beneficial to the body?

In some cases, yes. If you’re doing moderate amounts of exercise, then simple plain water should be sufficient. But, if you engage in strenuous training, then sports drinks are useful in replenishing lost minerals, including potassium, sodium, and chloride.

Sodium is particularly important since one of its key functions is to regulate the fluid levels in your cells and body. Sports drinks contain these electrolytes, which you lose through sweat.

Additionally, get to eat some fruits and vegetables that contain high water contents. These include:

  • Melon (watermelon being the most commonly available)
  • Kiwi
  • Apple
  • Cucumber
  • Mango
  • Orange

Just make sure you eat something juicy. On top of that, add bananas into the mix because they are rich in potassium. You can even consider making a smoothie using these veggies and fruits.

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