Make no mistake: paying attention to hydration is a crucial part of your performance during workouts as well as your recovery afterward.
Water is a necessity of life. That’s why Paleolithic settlements were always established close enough to water sources to take advantage of this precious resource.
In modern times, despite the ubiquitous availability of water, we sometimes neglect the importance of staying properly hydrated. Our bodies are comprised of over 70% water, which improves our health by:
- Keeping the body cool
- Maintaining muscle and skin tone
- Aiding the digestive process
- Activating enzymes
- Neutralizing stomach acids
- Kick starting metabolism
If you exercise regularly, your fluid intake will need to be significantly higher than the average person’s. Here’s how to make sure you are getting enough fluid to support your exercise plan.
Drink at least 8 ounces of water about two hours before your workout. This gives the fluid time to become available to your muscles. Weigh yourself prior to each workout as a guideline to how much you need to drink during and after the session. Nearly all of the weight you lose during a workout is in the form of perspiration, so for every pound you lose during a workout, you’ll need to replenish with one pound (about 16 oz) of water afterwards.
Drink frequently in small amounts during your workout. Sport drinks, fruit juice or water are all acceptable choices. The key is to avoid drinking large amounts of fluid, which may lead to bloating or other stomach problems. Cyclists should carry a water bottle with them on the bike, while runners may want to stash a water bottle along their route and stop for a quick drink along the way.
Weigh yourself again at the conclusion of every workout to find out how much fluid you’ve lost. During the first two hours post-workout, drink 16 oz. of fluid for every pound you’ve lost. Sports drinks and fruit juices are good choices during this period as they can help replace not only important electrolytes that you lose in sweat, but refuel your muscles with carbohydrates as well.
Some signs that you’re not not getting enough fluid are:
- Excessive thirst
- Dark colored urine
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness when standing
Staying well hydrated will keep your body firing on all cylinders while boosting your metabolism and improving your overall health.
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