If you are an athlete, then you will already understand the importance of staying hydrated while you exercise. What a lot of people don’t understand, though, is how exactly to take in enough water. If you drink cold water while exercising, it can cause stomach cramps. If you chug huge amounts of water while exercising, then you can feel unwell and you probably won’t get the benefits of the water at the time you need them the most.
These tips will help you to stay hydrated, and to perform at your best.
Drink at a Steady Pace
Drink water on a regular basis. The water you drink before you exercise is the water that will serve you during the early part of the workout. If you start exercising when you’re already dehydrated, then you won’t perform at your best, and if you try to ‘catch up’ on water intake while exercising then you could end up suffering from hyponatremia – where you take in too much water, and the water dilutes the sodium content of your blood.
If you’re an endurance athlete, then you need to take in electrolytes to replace the salts you lose through sweat. Coconut water (unsweetened) is a good option. Powerade or Gatorade can be good as well.
Track Your Water Use
You can track the amount of water that you’re taking in by using scales. Weigh yourself before you exercise, then again at the end of a session. This will give you an idea of how much you are losing through sweat. If you lose more than three percent of your body weight, then you are at risk of dehydration. Aim to drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight that you lost to dehydration.
Watch Your Urine
When you go to the bathroom, pay attention to the color of your urine. If you are properly hydrated then your urine will be pale yellow. If it is darker colored, then this is likely a sign of dehydration.
Drink When You Are Thirsty
If you feel even mild thirst, then take a drink, because thirst is a sign that you need to take in water. Don’t wait until you are feeling parched to start drinking because by then it’s too late. Even a dry mouth can be a sign of dehydration.
Wear Moisture Wicking Clothing
If you can, wear moisture-wicking clothing when you work out. Sweat is the body attempting to cool you down. If you are wearing clothing that holds moisture, then you will be sweating, but the sweat will cling to your skin rather than evaporating, making you feel uncomfortable and removing a large part of the benefit of the sweat.
If you wear clothing that pulls the moisture away from the skin, then your body will be able to regulate its temperature better, and that means that you’ll be less likely to overheat and feel dehydrated while you are working out.