Importance of Water and Staying Hydrated During Exercise
With summer fast approaching, so is the importance of keeping your body hydrated while you exercise. Whether you are a serious athlete or exercise for recreation, it’s important to make sure you stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Water, not only regulates your body temperature and keeps your joints lubricated. It also helps transport your body’s nutrients which give you energy and also keeps you healthy. Not properly hydrating can prevent your body from performing at its highest level. You may experience muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, or more severe symptoms.
There is an easy way to make sure you’re staying hydrated, and that is to check your urine. Your urine should remain colorless or light yellow; this is a good sign that you are staying well hydrated. If your urine color is dark yellow or amber, this is a sign of dehydration.
So, how much water should you drink while you are working out? Well, there are no exact rules for what your fluid intake should be. There are factors you should consider including how much you sweat, your environments heat and humidity, and the length of time you are exercising, and the strain on your body.
Here is what is suggested by The American Council on Exercise as basic guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise:
Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising
Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up
Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise
It is important to measure how much fluid you lose during exercise. You need to get a more accurate measurement of how much water to drink (16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost).
What about sports drinks? Most people believe that water is all that is needed to stay hydrated. But if you are exercising at a high intensity for more than an hour, sports drinks may be helpful. They offer the calories, potassium, and other nutrients that your body is burning, and can help you replenish energy and electrolytes more quickly which helps you work out longer.
It is important, however, that you choose the right sports drink for your workout. Many of these drinks are high in calories from added sugar, and some contain high levels of sodium. You also should check the serving size, like food servings, sports drinks may contain several servings in one bottle. You should also try to stay away from sports drinks that contain caffeine while you exercise because caffeine dehydrates you further, and drinking them during a workout is counterproductive.
What are the signs of dehydration? If you are using more fluids than you are taking in, you can become dehydrated. If this happens, your body cannot function properly. There are several symptoms of dehydration with include:
Dizziness or lightheaded feeling
Nausea or vomiting
Hard, fast heartbeat
Lack of sweating
Symptoms of severe dehydration can also include:
loss of consciousness.
You should immediately seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
So, remember to always stay hydrated, especially during the summer months when temperatures rise. Keeping your body hydrated means you can do more for longer, and who doesn’t want to do that?