This article explains the importance of staying hydrated for sports and how to avoid dehydration.
- Why is hydration important for physical performance?
- Hydration before starting to exercise
- Hydrate during exercise
- Hydration after exercise
- Excesive drinking
- Sport drinks
- Action points
Why is hydration important for physical performance?
You may be surprised to learn that when you exercise you can lose up to 500ml of fluid in just half an hour – that’s about the same amount of fluid as half a liter of milk. You lose this mainly through sweating and in the air you exhale.
If you don’t replenish your fluid level, you can quickly become dehydrated, which can affect your health and performance. Make sure you drink the right amount of fluids before, during, and after you exercise and you’ll keep your performance at peak performance.
Hydration before starting to exercise
Making sure you are well hydrated before exercising is very important, especially if you are in a hot environment.
If you’re dehydrated before you even start, your core temperature will rise faster and your heart will have to work harder than usual.
This can have a negative impact on their performance and can even lead to serious illnesses such as heat stroke and heatstroke.
If you’ve replenished your fluids for the day, and you haven’t exercised in 8 to 12 hours, then you should be hydrated enough to exercise at any time of day.
The easiest way to check if you are well hydrated is to look at the color of your urine . The urine should be pale in color; the darker it is, the more dehydrated you are. Some factors can change the color of your urine, such as vitamin supplements, so this test may not be reliable. If your urine is dark or you think you are dehydrated, you should drink fluids slowly for at least four hours before you exercise.
If you don’t urinate or if your urine is still dark, then drink more fluids for about two hours before you exercise. This will give your body enough time to absorb the liquids. You may need to try different amounts and lengths of time to get it right.
Hydrate during exercise
As little as two percent dehydration can have a negative impact on your performance, so replenishing fluids is important.
It is better to drink at first and then at regular intervals while exercising. How much you need to drink will depend on how much you sweat, how long you exercise, and of course, whether you actually have the opportunity to drink while you exercise.
If you plan to exercise for more than an hour, carbohydrate-containing sports drinks or even just an extract-based soda can do the trick, as the sugar provides the extra energy and the salts will help keep you hydrated. You may want to try drinking a sports drink that contains 60-80g of carbohydrates per hour. This will help you avoid injury and keep your training on track.
If you’re exercising for less than an hour, the best drink to stay hydrated is probably cold water.
It is important not to wait until you feel thirsty to drink: then it will be too late and you will already be dehydrated.
Hydration after exercise
Once you’ve finished your hard work, you’ll no doubt be ready for a drink. This will cool you down, but it is important to replenish lost fluids back to your normal level because this will help your muscles to recover.
You can estimate how much fluid you lose in a typical exercise session and how much you should drink by weighing yourself before and after exercise and comparing the weights. For every kilogram of body weight you lose, you need to drink about 1.5 liters of fluid. The sooner you start to replenish fluid, the sooner you will recover from exercise.
Sports drinks or just water with a pinch of salt will help you get your fluids back on track. Try to eat something salty: it may sound strange, but this will naturally make you thirstier so you will drink more and therefore rehydrate faster.
Don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages right after exercise because they are diuretics (they remove water from your body by increasing the amount of urine your kidneys make).
Although you may feel so thirsty during and after exercise that you think you could drink gallons of water, it’s important to remember that excessive drinking can be harmful and can cause a condition called hyponatremia.
This is when excess water dilutes your body’s salts and your cells swell, which can lead to a number of health problems.
Symptoms of hyponatremia include confusion, disorientation, headache, malaise, vomiting, lack of coordination, and muscle cramps. In the worst cases, severe hyponatremia can lead to coma, heart failure, and even death.
The variety of different sports drinks can be overwhelming and you may not know which one to choose or if they actually offer any benefits. These drinks not only replenish lost fluid, but also contain carbohydrates and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride).
These provide energy for your workout, help keep you hydrated, and just make the drink taste better. There are three main types of sports drinks: hypotonic, isotonic, and hypertonic.
What is the difference between hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic drinks?
Hypotonic drinks are low in carbohydrates (less than 4g per 100ml) and are designed to replace the fluids you lose during exercise.
Isotonic drinks contain a small amount of carbohydrates (from 4 to 8g per 100ml) and in addition to replenishing fluids, they also help replenish your body’s carbohydrate reserves. This is important if you exercise for more than an hour.
Hypertonic fluids have a high concentration of carbohydrates (more than 8g per 100ml). This means that your body absorbs them more slowly than water alone, but it will really improve your energy recharge.
If you’re reluctant to shell out money for sports drinks, you can easily make your own. Why not try these recipes for cheaper versions. Don’t drink apple juice because it is high in fructose, which can cause stomach pain.
|hypothetical _ _||isotonic _ _||hypertonic|
|20 to 40g of sugar (soft drink based on extracts)
1 liter of water
a pinch of salt
|40 to 80g of sugar (soft drink based on extracts)
1 liter of water
a pinch of salt
|80 to 100g of sugar (soft drink based on extracts)
1 liter of water
a pinch of salt
Drink small amounts and often throughout the day to ensure you are well hydrated before you start exercising. Carrying a bottle of water with you may help you remember to drink.
The best way to stay hydrated while exercising is to drink small amounts of fluids.
If you exercise for more than an hour, drinking fluids that contain added carbohydrates will allow you to continue your workout longer and recover faster.
After exercising, to replenish your fluid level, you need to drink 1.5 liters of fluid for every liter of fluid (1kg of your body weight) you lose. And remember that exercise nutrition is another vital aspect of not only improving your athletic performance but also preserving your health.