Whether engaging in light or strenuous exercises, you should take in some fluids to avoid dehydrating and lowering your output. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to stay hydrated during workouts. Keep reading to discover some of the ways you can stay hydrated while training and maximize your performance:
Good old water is the number one way to keep your body hydrated when working out. When you sweat when exercising, you lose body fluids, which reduce the body’s maximum strength. You replenish the lost fluids and rebalance the system when you drink water. To be on the safe side, hydrate before exercising. According to tailwindnutrition.com, your core temperature rises faster, and your heart works harder than usual when you don’t hydrate before exercising. This makes you get tired too fast and increases your chances of suffering from heatstroke.
The best way to confirm that you aren’t dehydrated before exercise is to check your urine color. If it’s too dark, drink some water. Fluids take time to be absorbed into the body, so drink steadily during the day and take at least 450 ml of fluid two to four hours before exercise. After that, drink water when you feel thirsty.
Drink the right amount of water
Your water intake depends on how much you sweat and how you will be exercising. How much you sweat and lose water depends on several factors, such as:
Body size: Those with larger bodies sweat more than smaller-bodied people. Men also sweat more than women do.
Fitness: Fitter people often sweat more and earlier in the exercises as their bodies need to cool down.
Environment: Obviously, you will sweat more if you live in hot, humid conditions.
Exercise intensity: The harder you exercise, the more you sweat.
The best way to tell when to drink water is to respond to what your body tells you. If you feel thirsty, drink water as your body is already showing signs it needs more fluids. To be safe, have a water bottle with you when exercising.
Besides keeping your body hydrated when exercising, you also need to hydrate after exercise as it leaves you refreshed and restores your fluid levels, which comes in handy in helping your muscles recover. Some people reward themselves after exercise with a pint or glass of wine, but this is wrong. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it draws water out of your body by increasing the amount of urine that your kidneys produce.
You also should stay away from soft drinks or juice, as they have high levels of carbohydrates and low sodium content. Like alcohol, caffeine can be a diuretic, so stay away from it. To be on the safe side, stick to water.
Use sports drinks
If you have been in areas where athletes engage in strenuous exercises, you must have noticed that most of them prefer sports drinks to water. The reason for this is that sports drinks rehydrate and provide electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium that provide prolonged endurance, among many other benefits. While sports drinks are excellent alternatives to water, they aren’t ideal for everyone. For example, if you are only engaged in moderate exercise, you don’t need to use them. Simple water is enough.
Stay away from sports drinks if you exercise for an hour or less. However, if you exercise for longer than an hour, take sports drinks, as they will keep you going for longer. Besides replacing the lost fluids and providing electrolytes, sports drinks also contain carbohydrate sugar that re-energizes you. When you become a regular user of sports drinks, you can easily spend a fortune on them, as they don’t come cheap. You don’t want this, do you?
To avoid paying an arm and a leg for sports drinks, consider making them at home. An excellent way to do it is to mix 200 ml squash with 800 ml water and add a large pinch of salt. You can also talk to your dietician to recommend a personalized plan. If sports drinks don’t work for you, consider IV therapy. Recovery formulas are designed to help you regain energy after workouts faster.
How can you tell you are dehydrated when working out?
There are plenty of ways you can tell that your body is dehydrated. These ways include:
Check your muscles
Are you having muscle cramps? This is a clear giveaway that you don’t have enough fluids in your system. If you feel a cramp coming on, it’s time to take a break and sip a drink for a few minutes. Take care not to guzzle the drink down, as you might create more complications.
Watch your dry mouth.
When your mouth begins to feel a little dusty, it’s time to stop exercising and get a drink. Remember that ignoring your dry mouth can seriously impact your performance. Some people have even reported collapsing after ignoring the dry mouth for too long, so move with haste when your mouth begins to dry up.
Check your skin’s elasticity.
Although it’s not 100% reliable, your skin’s elasticity can help you know whether you are dehydrated. You need to pinch the skin on the back of your hand, then hold it for a few seconds. If the skin takes a while before returning to its normal position when you let it go, you are most likely dehydrated.
Are you feeling dizzy?
Unless you are unwell, feeling lightheaded when working out is a sign of dehydration, and it’s time to stop working out and put in some fluids in your body.
It’s possible to drink too much, so be cautious.
As much as you want to stay hydrated, you should note that it’s easy to drink too much water or electrolytes than you need, leading to hyponatremia. The excess water you drink dilutes the salts in your body, and your cells swell up, bringing about several problems such as headache, feeling bloated, sick, confused, disoriented, and even vomiting. In extreme cases of hyponatremia, you may have seizures, lose consciousness or even die. In the event you have any of the above symptoms when exercising, seek urgent medical advice.