It seems like the most simplistic and overused piece of advice when exercising: “Stay hydrated.” Though some of us get tired of hearing this advice over and over, it’s an important piece of advice and not at all hard to keep up with. We can all benefit by keeping a bottle or two next to us while exercising.
Why Should We Stay Hydrated?
When we sweat, our bodies lose water. Drinking plenty of water is key to rehydrating when the body experiences as much fluid loss as it does when we sweat. Additionally, lean muscle tissue contains lots of water – more than 75%. When the body loses water without replenishment, muscles become more easily fatigued therefore many either can’t complete the workout or need to take frequent breaks. Drinking water also regulates body temperature and hydrates joints. By drinking water, nutrients are transported and give the body energy to keep going during a workout.
What Happens If We Don’t Stay Hydrated?
When working out for long periods of time, there are many dangerous consequences that follow when we do not hydrate properly. A few of those consequences include:
- Dry mouth
- Overheating (heat exhaustion/heatstroke)
- Decline in performance
- Muscle cramps
- Lack of sweating
If any of these symptoms are experienced during a workout, stop to take a break and get something to drink. Safety should always be your number one priority when exercising. Don’t think that you can push through your workout and drink later. Stop and rehydrate before continuing.
How We Can Stay Hydrated
Stay properly hydrated with these following tips:
- Drink 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before the start of a workout.
- Hydrate with 8 ounces of fluid 20-30 minutes during warm-up.
- Drink 7-10 ounces of fluid every 10-20 minutes during the workout.
- Drink another 8 ounces within 30 minutes of finishing the workout.
- If a workout lasts under 60 minutes, hydrate with water.
- If a workout lasts more than 60 minutes, then replace lost electrolytes with sports drinks.
Pro-tip: While sports drinks are a good way to stay hydrated and replace electrolytes, it’s important to balance them out with water since they can be packed full of sugar. If you have trouble remembering to stop and take a water break, set a reminder on your mobile device or exercise with a friend so you can hold each other accountable.