Guide to Keeping Hydrated When Working Out
Hydration is important throughout exercise, regardless of whether you’re a weekend warrior or an elite athlete. Here are some of our best recommendations for what to drink before, during, and after exercise, as well as how much to drink overall.
Why is it crucial to drink when working out?
Your body contains about 60% water, which is essential to every biological process. Exercise can cause you to lose a lot of fluid, up to a litre or two each hour, mostly from perspiration and breathing. So, if you workout, you’ll need to drink more.
If you don’t replenish this fluid, you risk becoming dehydrated. This may have an impact on both your general health and workout capacity. Dehydration will make you feel tired more quickly and affect your ability to regulate your body temperature.
Drinking water before, during, and after exercise will increase your energy levels and may aid with preventing cramp.
It might not occur to you, but it’s crucial to drink enough of water before exercising, especially when the weather is hot.
When dehydrated before an exercise session:
rapidly when your internal temperature increases
more effort will be required of your heart than normal.
Your performance will suffer as a result, and heat stroke may result. You’ll get more out of your workout and feel better while doing it if you drink adequate fluids.
Examining the colour of your urine is one quick technique to determine your level of hydration, which should be a light straw colour.
The process of absorbing liquids into your body can take some time. Drink regularly throughout the day and try to consume 450 ml of fluid in the two to four hours before to exercising. Afterward, sipadditional water if you still feel thirsty.
Hydration while working out
Bring a water bottle with you when you go for a run, for instance, as it is crucial to consume water during your activity. You won’t be able to work as hard if you’re dehydrated because it can lower your energy levels. You will have a better chance of reaching your fitness goals if you drink little and often rather than very infrequently.
Depending on how much you perspire and how long you workout for, you’ll need to drink a certain amount. Your: affects how much water you lose through sweat and perspiration
- size – larger individuals often perspire more than smaller individuals, and men perspire more than women.
- Fitness – Because their bodies are used to it, fitter people sweat more and earlier during exercise.
- environment: hot, muggy weather causes you to perspire more
- Exercise intensity: As you work out harder, you perspire more.
Paying attention to what your body is telling you can help you determine when to drink. You should drink immediately if you feel thirsty because your body is already indicating that it needs to drink extra liquid. Here is another method for calculating the amount of fluid you should drink to make up for the fluid you lose when exercising.
The calculation of sweat rate
Check your weight before working out (ideally do this first thing in the morning after you go to the toilet).
Check your weight after working out (again after going to the toilet).
Comparing the numbers
Drink up to a litre and a half of liquid for every kilogramme of body weight you lose.
When exercising, have a bottle of water close at hand to prevent dehydration.
Hydration following workout
Without a doubt, you’ll be thirsty after all the hard labour is done. This will not only be refreshing, but it will also assist your muscles recuperate by replenishing their fluid levels. You’ll heal faster if you start replacing the fluid right away. Water should be plenty unless your workout is extremely intense or lasts more than an hour. Drink until the colour of your urine changes back to a hydrated colour.
Avoid the temptation to reward yourself with a beer or a glass of wine after working out. Because alcohol is a diuretic, it causes your kidneys to create more urine, which helps you get rid of more water from your body.
Do I need to consume sports beverages?
There is an astonishing variety of sports drinks available, and many of them have a lot of added sugar. It can be difficult to decide which to chose and whether they really provide any benefits.
You won’t require them if you workout in a moderate amount. The greatest beverage to have before, during, and after exercise is frequently just water. Water is sufficient if you exercise for less than an hour. Sports drinks, though, may be beneficial if you’re engaging in rigorous exercise.
Sports drinks or even plain squash can keep you going longer if you exercise for more than an hour. Sports beverages include carbs (sugar) and electrolytes in addition to restoring lost liquids.
Create your own sports beverage
You may brew your own sports drinks at home without spending a lot of money on ones that might be loaded with sugar and additives. Add 800 ml of water and 200 ml of squash (not the low-sugar version) to a big bowl.
Consult a dietician for guidance that is tailored to your needs if you’re preparing for an endurance event like a marathon or triathlon.
Can you overindulge in alcohol?
Drinking excessively has the potential to be dangerous since it can result in the rare illness known as hyponatraemia. When you consume more fluid than you lose by sweating and urinating, this is what happens. The extra water makes your cells bloat and dilutes the salts in your body, which can lead to a variety of issues. The amount of alcohol that each person needs to experience hyponatraemia varies greatly. The signs consist of:
bloated and having a headache
a sense of confusion or disorientation a feeling of nausea
Severe hyponatraemia can, in the worst-case scenario, result in convulsions (fits), unconsciousness, and even death.
If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms while exercising and drinking, get medical help right once.
Learn how much you sweat (see the section above on hydration during activity) and keep note of how much liquid you consume. Make a mental note of how often you top off a refillable bottle if you’re using one.