Any smart coach, trainer or athlete will stress the importance of drinking water while working out. Whether engaging in light exercise or a more strenuous routine, your body runs the risk of experiencing dehydration if you don’t replenish fluids lost from sweat. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure you stay hydrated while training and maximize your performance.
1.) Drink Water
Good old H2O is the number one way to keep your body hydrated. When you sweat, you lose fluids that your body’s organs and muscles rely on to function at maximum strength. Drinking water allows you to replenish these fluids and rebalance your system.
2.) Know How Much to Drink
The key here is “balance.” Keep this in mind while you’re drinking water. Too little water can dehydrate your body, but too much water can also have negative effects such as overhydration, or hyponatremia, which dilutes the sodium content in your blood. Staying hydrated while training is about restoring what is lost, so water intake requirements are highly variable depending on the person, environment and workout.
3.) Know When to Drink
Many coaches plan a water break in the middle of practice when players start feeling fatigued. But according to Ace Fitness, in order to stay properly hydrated, athletes should start drinking water two to three hours before training, every twenty minutes during training and continue to drink water after training. By meeting your body’s hydration needs before it starts feeling deprived, you will be able to maximize your performance.
4.) Befriend Electrolytes
You just had a hard workout. You’re sweating. You’re hot. So you grab a sports drink from the vending machine or juice bar at your gym. One reason athletes turn to sports drinks instead of water is because they rehydrate in addition to providing electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that not only help with hydration, but they also have perks such as prolonged endurance (every athlete’s favorite).
Sports drinks, electrolyte tablets and coconut water are good sources of electrolytes to consider if you are exercising for extended periods of time. These are potentially positive substitutes during intense workouts or sports like marathon running and triathlons.
5.) Pay Attention to Warning Signs
There are many warning signs that your body sends when it is feeling dehydrated. When training, pay attention to red flags such as dry mouth, feeling dizzy, skin elasticity, color of urine, drastic drop in body weight (3% or more), heat exhaustion or cramping muscles. These are all signs of dehydration and that it is time for a water break.
Abnormalities and hindrances in athletic performance are your body’s way of reminding you to hydrate. Listening to your muscles and organs can help you avoid dehydration during your workout and allow you to stay on the machines you love even longer.
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