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Hydration During Workouts: The Importance

We’ve all heard it before: a person should be able to consume eight glasses of water every day. However, when working out, should an individual’s intake of water be double the amount?

A common enemy of sports enthusiasts is dehydration. A person’s performance during sports or when working out decreases even with just a hint of dehydration. Amanda Carlson, a trainer, said that just losing two percent of one’s body weight in fluid can decrease performance by as much as twenty-five percent.

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Hydration during workout is imperative not just for athletes but for everyone to get the most out of their exercise regimen. Exercising can lead to the loss of water and not replenishing that can result to feelings of dizziness, lethargy, and cramps.

Water can make it easier for your body to function. Hydrating properly can help lessen the need for the heart to work double time in pumping blood to the body because oxygen and other nutrients can be sent more effectively to the muscles used during exercising.

One problem, though, is that even experienced athletes have difficulty in drinking enough water. It is important to know that hydration should not just be during workouts but before and after it as well.

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Taking a sip of seven to ten ounces of fluid every ten to twenty minutes of exercise is highly recommended to prevent dehydration. Individuals who have longer workouts than an hour each day or those who have an intense workout regimen would need to replenish their electrolytes too.

Electrolytes are nutrients or chemicals in the body that affect major functions such as heartbeat regulation and muscle contraction for ease of movement. Calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride are the major electrolytes found in the body.

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Calcium is responsible for muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting, cell division, as well as in the formation of bones and teeth. Potassium helps keep blood pressure levels stable, regulate heart contractions as well as with muscle functions.

Magnesium is the electrolyte needed for muscle contractions, proper heart rhytms, nerve functioning, bone building and strength, lessening anxiety, digestion, and in keeping a stable protein-fliud balance. Sodium helps maintain fluid balance and is needed for muscle contractions as well as nerve signaling while Chloride also helps with fluid balance.

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During workouts, the loss of electrolytes in the body can be replenished with the intake of a sports drink or electrolyte enhanced water. It is also important to be cautious of overhydration which can lead to hypoatremia a condition characterized by excess water in the body that dilutes the sodium content in the blood.

Hypoatremia can lead to nausea, headaches, confusion, and fatigue. In severe cases, it can even lead to coma and death.

For those who prefer sports drinks, you should check the label and assess whether a particular drink can give your body the amount of electrolytes it needs during workout. The best amount is fourteen grams of carbohydrates, which should come from glucose, sucrose, and/or fructose, twenty eight milligrams of potassium, and one hundred milligrams of sodium per eight ounce serving.

A day before working out, you should drink extra water and monitor the color of your urine. Ideally, it should be pale yellow since it means that one is properly hydrated.

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Drink two eight ounce cups of water two hours before starting your working. This would give your kidneys enough time to process your liquid intake and give you enough time to empty your bladder before working out.

Thirty minutes before actually starting your regimen, drink another five to ten ounces of water. One ounce of fluid is equivalent to a medium mouthful of water.

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Check your weight before and after exercise to know how much water you should take during your workout. Ideally, for every pound lost during activity, one should drink an additional sixteen ounce of fluid.

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After working out, you should check how many pounds you lost and drink another twenty four ounce of fluid. In the instance that you actually gained body weight, it is possible that you have overhydrated and you should drink less in the future.

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