Why Is It Important To Hydrate

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Amelia Phillips

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Staying hydrated at the best of times during a workout is super important but with the weather warming up and training moving outdoors, here are even more reasons why you need to get yourself a good water bottle and stay hydrated before, during and after your workouts.

Pre-Workout

Check your hydration first. An easy way to check is by the colour of your urine. If you are well hydrated it will be a pale yellow whereas the darker your urine the more dehydrated you are. Another great test for those who frequently do endurance or intense workouts is to jump on the scales and weigh yourself; I’ll tell you why later.

For a majority of your training whether it’s a game, workout or run 200-400mL 15mins prior to starting is recommended. It’s not an exact science, which is why its important to work out what suits your fluid needs. If you are not well hydrated prior to a workout your core temperature will rise faster, forcing you to work harder.

 

During

Water is important for any workout but it goes without saying the hotter the weather, or the more intense our workout – the sweatier we are going to be. That means a loss of fluid that is not replaced can lead to fatigue, exhaustion and an overall poor workout performance. The Australian Institute of Sport goes on further to say dehydration can impair your heart regulation, increase your ‘perceived exertion’, reduce mental function and upset your tummy! Also if you are short on fluid your muscles will become fatigued very quickly. Dehydration, which is the loss of essential fluid and salts that maintain our body function, can occur in just 30 minutes.

How much should you be drinking?

Well that is going to ‘depend’ on a lot of factors, such as how hot, how intense, your age, how much you sweat and the length of your workout. In general however, anything less than 1 hour you should aim for approximately 200-300ml every 15-20mins. The tricky thing about dehydration is that you can’t always tell it’s starting until it’s too late. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty because this is a sign you that have already becoming dehydrated.

For workouts longer than an hour such as a long run you want to start including a drink that has salt or a carbohydrate such as a sports drink.

Some signs of dehydration include muscle fatigue, flushed skin, loss of coordination, and weakness.

 

Post-Workout

Now that you have smashed that sesh, jump back on those scales and weigh yourself. Now you can work out your fluid loss during the workout. The American College of Sports Medicine says you should aim to replace the loss within 2 hours – approximately 600ml for every kilo lost. Anymore than a 3% body weight change can mean significant dehydration. For those that had a tough training session or a long endurance run will most likely need to replace electrolytes as well.

Electrolytes help to ‘accelerate’ hydration and come in many forms – tablets, Powerade or similar and in the form of fruit – bananas and dates are great for refueling.

One word of warning – don’t guzzle your water. There is such a thing as overhydration called “hyponatremia” where excess water in our bodies dilute the sodium content of our blood. Often related to long duration exercise but good to know. Stick to the urine and weight test to work out your fluid strategy.

Other tips for working out in summer:

  • Wear appropriate clothing;
  • Take longer breaks;
  • Reduce intensity;
  • Train in the early morning or later afternoon.

How much do you hydrate on a daily basis? Join the conversation below.

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  • Mary Crea

    Thank you for mentioning Hyponatremia. Some articles suggest people should drink 3 to 5 litres of water per day, and don’t mention anything about Hyponatremia. My friend, that is a nurse, has advised how dangerous drinking that much water can be.
    Tip 9 in this article is ridiculous – http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/life-health/jaime-baird/12-tight-tummy-tips/