Proper hydration is essential for everyone. Whether you are a professional athlete or someone who does the occasional workout.
Water is the most important nutrient for life. It has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients throughout the body.
During exercise, it is particularly important to stay hydrated. Proper fluid intake is essential to comfort, performance and safety. The more intense and longer exercise you do, the more important it is to drink the right fluids.
Dehydration can happen through loss of sweat leading to a drop in blood volume which in turn causes the heart to work harder to circulate blood. A drop in blood volume can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue. All counter productive to an athlete in training or someone who is working at getting in shape.
So how do you find the right amount? While it is nearly impossible to provide specific recommendations, there are two simple methods for estimating adequate hydration that everyone can use.
1. Monitoring urine volume, output and color. Light colored/diluted urine and going frequently are signs you are hydrated. Dark colored and concentrated urine most likely means you are dehydrated.
2. Weighing yourself before and after exercise. Any weight loss is likely from fluid, dry to drink more to replenish. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.
Living in high altitude increases fluid losses and ‘up’s’ the need for fluid replacement. Exercising in the heat, excessive sweating, duration and intensity also need to be taken into consideration to prevent dehydration.
Here are some guidelines on getting hydrated before, during and after exercise. Before your workout, weigh yourself and drink between 15 and 20 fluid ounces 2-3 hours before beginning. During your workout, drink 8-10 ounces every 10-15 minutes. After your workout, weigh yourself again and for every pound lost drink 20-24 fluid ounces.
Regardless if you are an professional athelete or the casual exerciser, use this information as a guideline to cater to your individual workout regimen.