Workouts are tough but rewarding. The feeling of exhaustion after a few hours of running,…
Workouts are intense but fun. That is until the headaches begin. Or is it the muscle soreness that prevents you from completing your circuit? Perhaps it’s the general feeling of exhaustion instead of the adrenalin charge-up that you were hoping for?
Either way, there’s only one culprit. Dehydration. That’s right. Not hydrating enough before and during your exercise routine is the root cause of how terrible you feel.
Research has shown that you can lose as much as 300 ml of water via sweat for every hour you work out. Is there any wonder why your performance dips during workouts?
To compensate for the water loss, you need to make room for a hydration strategy during your workouts.
Not sure how?
Here are the 5 Do’s and one Big Don’t you need to consider when planning your hydration strategy.
Considering how much water the human body loses simply through breathing and bathroom visits, experts recommend an intake of between three to four liters of water from when you wake up till you call it a day. Hydration should ideally be an ongoing activity — something you do at regular intervals throughout the day. However, most people tend to guzzle water right before a workout. This is not a good hydration strategy. Instead, ensure you drink at least a cup of water every 30 minutes. This way, you’re preparing your body for its workout. If it’s an insanely hot day, up your intake of water to prevent dehydration.
As far as monitoring your daily fluid intake is concerned, it’s often difficult to gauge whether your system is half full, full, or half empty. So, listen to your body and go by how thirsty you feel. Thirst is your body’s way to let your brain know that it needs more water.
Another important step toward hydrating for workouts is to consume the right kind of fluids. Why? Because your choice of hydration fluids will determine how effectively your body can stay energized during the training. Experts recommend water if you’re working out for less than 40 minutes a day. If, however, your routine goes beyond, you need something extra like a sports drink.
Sports Drinks include carbohydrates that give you an energy boost. This prevents you from feeling exhausted before you complete your regimen. Sports drinks are also packed with essential electrolytes to restore your body’s natural mineral balance. Ever felt muscle spasms or abrupt onset of weakness? That’s your body’s cue that your electrolyte balance is off.
It’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t drink any water while you’re working out. Most people believe it leads to a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, which can cause discomfort when exercising. This is far from the truth. You must fill up on water after every 15 minutes of exercise. No, you don’t need to guzzle down the whole bottle. But yes, a few small sips will suffice.
Gulp a cup down before you begin and break up your routine for a quick water break at least once or twice. Why? It’s simple. You’re so focused on your circuits that you don’t register your body’s signals like thirst. Sometimes, you may not even realize that you’re sweating excessively because of the adrenalin rush.
Hydrate yourself whether you believe you need the water or not.
Plain water can get boring, and this may discourage you from drinking as much water in a day as you should. Make water interesting by adding a lemon wedge to each cup. The citrus in lemons lends amazing benefits to your gut, and it helps your body detox before a workout. Ideally, you want a low-calorie ingredient that will keep you hydrated and healthy when working out.
Not a fan of lemon? Add a dash of flavors derived from natural fruit extracts like berries. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are enriched with antioxidants that will boost your natural physical energy.
Not the season for berries? Try cucumber and water — it is a double-action formula that does a great job on the hydration front. Adding a few slices of cucumber with a hint of mint in your cup of water before a workout will quench your thirst and fill you up nicely at the same time.
Going out for a jog? Perhaps you prefer rock climbing? Maybe it’s a few extra circuits at the gym. Either way, your body will undergo a lot of stress, and it needs your help to avoid injury and function optimally. So how do you do that?By planning ahead. Just as you would double or triple check your gear to avoid accidents, make preparations to stay hydrated as well. Filtered water, for instance, might be difficult to find during your trek or run uphill.
Avoid fruit juices and carbonated sodas before or during a workout. Yes, sugar is a source of quick energy, but during or before a workout, a high intake of sugar can irritate your stomach lining and leave you with an upset tummy.
Sodas contain carbonated gas that can make you feel bloated and full. And you can’t work out comfortably on a tight stomach.
Now that you know what to do and what to avoid, here are signs you should look out for.
If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, and irritable, your body may crave some water. A headache or dry mouth during or post a workout is a sign of dehydration, too. Check your weight on a scale when you wake up in the morning. If you’ve lost a few grams of weight overnight, you need to load up on water and fluids. The color of your urine is a good indicator of dehydration. If it’s pale yellow, you’re good. If it’s a darker shade of yellow, you need to tank up on aqua.
The key to balancing out hydration with your diet and your fitness routine is to strategize your water intake. Overhydrating or improper hydrating can have negative consequences, especially when you’re trying to support your body during a workout. When in doubt, stick to drinking fresh water — it’s the one beverage that can do wonders for your mind, body, and soul.