Hydration During Workouts: The Importance

It’s common knowledge that a person should drink about eight glasses of water each day. However, when working out, should an individual’s intake of water be double the amount?

Dehydration is a workout enthusiast’s dreadful enemy. One’s ability to perform when doing sports or during a workout can decline with even 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 important not just for professional athletes but for individuals who want to get the most out of their exercise. Working out means losing water and not replenishing that amount can lead to feelings of dizziness, lethargy, and cramps.

Water makes the body function much better and smoother. Drinking enough water can help minimize the need for the heart to work hard in pumping blood to the body because oxygen and nutrients can be sent more efficiently to the muscles used during workouts.

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 facilitate in heartbeat regulation and in allowing muscles to contract for ease of movement. Major electrolytes found in the body are calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride.

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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 necessary for muscle contractions, proper heart rhythms, nerve functioning, bone building and strength, decreasing anxiety, digestion, and in keeping a stable protein-fluid 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 extreme cases, it can even result to comatose 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.

One day before working out, one should drink extra water and check the color of one’s urine. The ideal color is pale yellow, which means that you are properly hydrated.

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On the day of your exercise, you should drink two eight ounce cups of water two hours beforehand. 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. An ounce of fluid is equal to a medium mouthful of water.

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Weigh yourself before and after exercise to determine exactly how much water you should be taking during your workout. Ideally, for every pound lost during activity, one should drink an additional sixteen ounce of fluid.

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Once you have finished your workout, check how many pounds you lost and drink another twenty four ounce of fluid. In case you actually gained weight, you may have overhydrated and should remember to drink less water in the future.