Hydration During Workouts: The Importance
We’ve all heard it before: a person should be able to consume eight glasses of water every day. However, should this amount be doubled when working out?
A common enemy of sports enthusiasts is dehydration. A person’s performance during sports or when working out decreases even with just a hint of dehydration. According to Amanda Carlson, a trainer, the loss of just two percent of one’s body weight in fluid can lessen performance by as much as twenty five percent.
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Hydration during workout is important not just for professional athletes but for individuals who want to get the most out of their exercise. Exercising can lead to the loss of water and not replenishing that can result to feelings of dizziness, lethargy, and cramps.
Water can make it easier for your body to function. Drinking enough water can help minimize the need for the heart to work hard in pumping blood to the body because oxygen and nutrients can be sent more efficiently to the muscles used during workouts.
One issue, though, is that even professional athletes find it hard to drink enough water. It is important to take note that hydration should not just be during workouts but before and after it as well.
Taking a sip of seven to ten ounces of fluid every ten to twenty minutes of exercise is highly recommended to prevent dehydration. For those who work out for longer than an hour a day or for those who are taking on a particularly intense workout regimen, electrolytes may need to be replenished too.
Electrolytes are nutrients or chemicals in the body that affect major functions such as heartbeat regulation and muscle contraction for ease of movement. Major electrolytes found in the body are calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride.
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Calcium is responsible for muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting, cell division, as well as in the formation of bones and teeth. Potassium regulates heart contractions, helps keep blood pressure levels stable, and facilitate muscle functions.
Magnesium is necessary for muscle contractions, proper heart rhythms, nerve functioning, bone building and strength, decreasing anxiety, digestion, and in keeping a stable protein-fluid balance. Sodium helps maintain fluid balance and is needed for muscle contractions as well as nerve signaling while Chloride also helps with fluid balance.
The loss of electrolytes during workouts can be remedied by a sports drink or electrolyte enhanced water. It is also important to be cautious of overhydration which can lead to hypoatremia a condition characterized by excess water in the body that dilutes the sodium content in the blood.
Hypoatremia can lead to nausea, headaches, confusion, and fatigue. In severe cases, it can even lead to coma and death.
If you prefer sports drink, check the label to see whether it can provide enough electrolytes for your body during workout. The ideal amount is fourteen grams of carbohydrates, which should come from glucose, sucrose, and/or fructose, twenty eight milligrams of potassium, and one hundred milligrams of sodium per eight ounce serving.
One day before working out, one should drink extra water and check the color of one’s urine. Ideally, it should be pale yellow since it means that one is properly hydrated.
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On the day of your exercise, you should drink two eight ounce cups of water two hours beforehand. This would give your kidneys enough time to process your liquid intake and give you enough time to empty your bladder before working out.
Thirty minutes before actually starting your regimen, drink another five to ten ounces of water. One ounce of fluid is equivalent to a medium mouthful of water.
Check your weight before and after exercise to know how much water you should take during your workout. It is ideal to drink an additional sixteen ounce of fluid for every pound lost during activity.
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Once you have finished your workout, check how many pounds you lost and drink another twenty four ounce of fluid. In case you actually gained weight, you may have overhydrated and should remember to drink less water in the future.