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Your Ultimate Guide to Hydration & Exercise

by Laurice Wardini March 08, 2020

Your Ultimate Guide to Hydration & Exercise

Hydration is a key component to getting the most of your workouts. Water regulates body temperature, lubricates your joints, transports nutrients, and is important for nearly every function in your body. Unfortunately, dehydration is far too common in athletes and others who exercise regularly. Keep reading to learn how much water to drink surrounding your workouts, plus other tips to stay hydrated and healthy!

 

Hydrating Your Body (With Water)

Sports drinks are common for athletes, but water is the most important drink to stay hydrated. Many sports drinks are great for replacing lost electrolytes and minerals, but shouldn’t replace water. It’s important to drink water before, during, and after you exercise. 

Before: You should drink 18–20 ounces of water within 2–3 hours before you plan on exercising. Right before exercising (around 20–30 minutes), you should drink another 8 ounces of water. You can also drink this water during your warm-up. 

During: During your exercise, you will want to drink a bit of water as well to stay hydrated. You should drink 7–10 ounces for every 10–20 minutes of your workout. 

After: Drink 8 more ounces of water within 30 minutes of finishing your exercise to replace the water lost. If you want to get a more accurate measurement of how much water you lost, you can try weighing yourself before and after exercising. You should drink 16 – 24 ounces of water for every pound lost. 

 

Replacing Lost Metabolites

Although we lose water while sweating, we also lose plenty of other metabolites such as amino acids, sodium, and potassium. For most people, a healthy and balanced diet ensures we have enough of these. However, a few exceptions apply – you might need help replacing these minerals and electrolytes if you’re a heavy sweater, engage in high-intensity exercise, or follow a strict diet (such as keto). 

Sports drinks and coconut water can come in handy for replenishing lost metabolites. Many fruits are another great source of electrolytes and fluids – for example, bananas and dates have a high level of potassium.

 

How to Know If You’re Dehydrated


Check Your Urine: The color of your urine is a good sign of hydration. If you’re properly hydrated, it should be a pale yellow. On the other hand, a dark yellow color can indicate dehydration. 

Dizziness: A common symptom of dehydration is dizziness, especially during exercise. When the heart rate increases, the body needs to pump more blood to the muscles. This is more difficult when you’re not drinking enough water, often resulting in dropped blood pressure as well as dropped blood volume (which causes dizziness). 

Fatigue: Staying hydrated helps improve your performance during exercise. Listen to your body – if your muscles are more easily fatigued than normal, you could be dehydrated. If you’re feeling too tired to finish a workout, try resting for a bit and drinking some water.  

Water Intake: Simple tracking the amount of water you drink daily could raise the question of dehydration. For most people, 64 ounces daily is a good average for water intake. It’s also good to spread this throughout the day consistently so you stay hydrated. 

Bottom Line

Overall, staying hydrated is important for everybody (especially athletes). When you’re properly hydrated, you’re able to reach maximum performance when working out, with quicker and better results. That said, make sure to drink enough water every day to avoid dehydration!

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Laurice Wardini
Laurice Wardini

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