Drinking water has many benefits especially when exercising. Whether you are just getting back into exercise or a professional athlete, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Benefits. – Good hydration means getting the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level.
How to tell if you are hydrated. – A simple way to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated is to check your urine. If your urine is usually colorless or light yellow, you are most likely well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine can be a sign of dehydration.
How much water should you drink during exercise? – Everyone is different so everyone’s hydration levels during exercise are also different. You need to consider factors including your sweat rate, the heat and humidity in your environment, and how long and hard you are exercising.
The American Council on Exercise has suggested the following basic guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising.
- Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up.
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.
What about sport drinks? – Water is usually all you need unless you are exercising at high intensities for longer than an hour. The calories and nutrients in sports drinks can help provide energy and the electrolytes can help you perform for longer periods of time. Be careful and chose your sports drinks wisely, many contain high levels of sugar and sodium.
Dehydration. – Some common symptoms of dehydration are dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, dry mouth, lack of sweat and fast heartbeat. If you feel any of the symptoms drink water and find a shaded area to sit under. Symptoms of severe dehydration can include mental confusion, weakness, and loss of consciousness. You should get emergency medical attention immediately if you have any of these symptoms.