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?

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. According to Amanda Carlson, a trainer, the loss of just two percent of one’s body weight in fluid can lessen 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. 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. 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. Calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride are the major electrolytes found in the body.

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Calcium helps with muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting, cell division, and in the formation of bones and teeth. Potassium regulates heart contractions, helps keep blood pressure levels stable, and facilitate 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. Chloride helps maintain fluid balance as well as sodium, which is also needed for muscle contractions and nerve signaling.

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The loss of electrolytes during workouts can be remedied by a sports drink or electrolyte enhanced water. It is also important to take note that overhydration can lead to hypoatremia, which happens when extra water in the body 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.

If you prefer sports drink, check the label to see whether it can provide enough electrolytes for your body 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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On the day of your exercise, you should drink two eight ounce cups of water two hours beforehand. This would provide your kidneys with enough time to digest the fluid and give you time to empty your bladder before starting your exercise.

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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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 the instance that you actually gained body weight, it is possible that you have overhydrated and you should drink less in the future.