Exercise and proper hydration go hand in hand, as your body cannot perform to its full potential while dehydrated. Although you may know that you need to drink water, you may not be drinking the right amounts at the right times in order to get the best performance out of your body. Also, it is imperative during certain types of training to drink more than just water in order to replenish everything your body needs. Follow these hydration tips and get the most out of your next workout.
According to a study in the April 2010 Journal of Athletic Training, runners who began a 12K race dehydrated finished the race an average of two and a half minutes slower compared to the same runner completing the race while properly hydrated. Being dehydrated lowers the blood volume in the body, putting unnecessary strain on several functions of the body. The best practice is to drink 8 to 16 ounces of water 1 to 2 hours before a run, helping your body to be more efficient.
In order to keep your hydration on track, record how often and how much water you are drinking throughout the day and note your level of thirst during your workout. This will help you determine how much water is optimum for keeping your body properly hydrated. Once you know how much you need to drink, set a schedule for yourself and stay on track. Drinking small amounts at regular intervals helps your body absorb fluid more effectively and will help prevent that unpleasant sloshing feeling.
For most workouts, water is sufficient to replenish water the body needs. However, if you work out vigorously, or train for more than an hour at a time, your body will also need the sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, and electrolytes found in sports drink in order to fully recover. Plan on drinking 14-27 ounces of a sports drink per hour of exercise.
The best way to determine the amount of liquid you need after a workout is to weigh yourself before and after. For every pound you lost post-workout, drink 24 oz. of fluids. If you are gaining weight after your workout, then you are probably over-hydrating your body and you should cut back on liquids before exercise. Although staying hydrated is extremely important, over hydrating yourself can weigh you down and be just an inefficient as being dehydrated.
The best way to ensure proper hydration is to plan ahead for your workouts, replenish fluids with a sports drink as needed, and listen to your body’s needs.