Despite the well known benefits of hydration, athletes may often overlook how it can affect their performance.
Water governs a number of vital bodily functions which can be impaired when dehydrated. It is important to understand the impact of water loss, especially during physical activity to stay healthy and optimise the way you train.
Whether you are pro athlete or simply exercise to stay fit, good hydration is needed before, during and after your workouts.
How does dehydration affect your body during physical activity?
During exercise the primary factor for dehydration is perspiration. It is the body’s natural way to regulate its temperature. To replenish the water lost in sweat, it is essential to effectively manage your liquid intake. A lack of hydration during this time could lead to deterioration in muscle function, causing a decrease in output and higher risk of burnout.
How much water should you be drinking?
Varying from person to person, your water consumption is based on several factors including workout duration, intensity, the outside temperature, metabolic rate and body fat. A general set of guidelines can help determine the right amount of water needed to avoid dehydration during exercise or playing sports.
A lack of fluids in your system can set you back before you even begin your workout. Exercising while dehydrated will make your core temperature rise rapidly causing your heart to beat faster & work harder.
Having 500 to 600 ml of water, approximately 3 to 4 hours before exercising can prep your body and induce a natural feel good factor. About 10 to 15 minutes before your session, drink 250 to 300 ml to energise your muscles and boost blood flow.
Carry a water bottle with you since dehydration can slow down your progress. Set periodic reminders every 15 to 20 minutes to take a few sips of water. Listening to your body will give you the best chance to achieve your fitness goals.
For workouts over an hour, 100 to 250 ml of water every 15 minutes should be enough to keep you going. If you so need, water can be accompanied by a sports drink high in carbohydrates & electrolytes.
Once you are done with all the hard work, you will naturally be craving something to drink. The sooner you hydrate, the faster your body will replenish all the lost liquid and kick start muscle recovery.
Drink close to 600 to 700 ml of water over the next couple of hours after your workout. It is best to proceed gradually as you do not want to over hydrate. Excessive water consumption may have its own set of problems including sluggish, slow movement, dizziness and stomach aces.
A quick and easy way to remind yourself to drink water is to use a smart watch. The timely watch vibration on your wrist, no matter where you are, is super convenient. Noise smart watches are equipped with this feature.
What not to drink?
While some energy drinks may be beneficial, steer clear of the following:
Caffeine which is diuretic in nature is not an ideal choice for consumption both before & after a workout.
The desire to reward yourself with a glass of wine may be compelling; however alcohol will further dehydrate your already exhausted body.
Juices & soft drink though a popular choice contain high levels of sugar and low sodium content, which isn’t the best to restore your energy levels.
60% of the human body is made up of water. By being able to effectively manage your water levels through a workout you can improve both your performance and capacity to train.