DRINK UP! HOW TO STAY HYDRATED WHEN WORKING OUT

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3 Reasons to Drink More

By Jane Sandwood

How far would you expect your car to go without gas? Not very far, right? So why do we often expect our body to perform at its best when we’re not hydrating ourselves properly? 

Staying hydrated when working out can make or break a great workout!

The recommended daily water intake is eight to ten glasses a day – but that’s without taking into account any heart pumping workouts!

So, are you getting enough H2O?

With the average person only consuming four to five glasses a day, it’s a safe bet to say you’re probably not.  But exactly how do you know how much you need?  And is water really the best thing to drink? 

Let’s dive in and find out!

So How Much Do I Really Need To Stay Hydrated?

When you exercise you lose water mainly through sweat, so it’s important to take extra on board to avoid dehydration.  A good rule of thumb at staying hydrated is to drink 15 to 20 oz of water one to two hours before you work out, another 8 to 10 oz about 15 minutes before, and aim to sip throughout your workout so that you average about another 8 oz for every 15 minutes you exercise.  This should ensure that you not only stay hydrated, but that you also function at peak efficiency to get the most out of your workout, and also lessen your recovery time.  You may need to adjust the amount slightly depending on what exactly you are doing – anything that causes you to sweat excessively like a power lifting session or a long run on a warm day may mean you need to up your intake even more.

All Drinks are Not Created Equal

Although all beverages and food will contribute to your daily goal, some are better to consume than others.  Whilst plain water is an excellent hydrator, there are other options for those who don’t like the taste: 

  • Try adding a little fruit or a splash of fruit juice to improve the taste and make water more palatable.  
  • Low fat milk is an excellent option for a post-workout drink.  It is a winning combination of hydration and protein to fuel and recover tired muscles.  
  • Coconut water has the benefit of being high in potassium often lost during a workout.  Although it won’t help to replace low sodium levels it is low in calories.  
  • Sports drinks can be very effective, both at helping you to maximise your workout performance and for re-hydrating and replacing lost sodium and electrolytes afterwards, but choose your brand wisely – some are higher in calories and sugars than a can of soda.

Don’t Overdo It

It is possible to get water intoxication from drinking too much water.  Make sure that you are sticking to the recommended guidelines.  Adjust the amount you consume depending on what exercise you are doing.  Choose your beverage carefully to ensure you are giving your body the nutrients that it needs to fuel your workout and recovery.

Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and content manager with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. Her interests are mostly related to fitness and nutrition. Click here for more articles by Jane

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