No two runners are the same., but one thing they do have in common is that they will be sweaty by the end of their race. While sweating is an essential biological function that allows your body to get rid of extra heat, it does cause you to lose water and electrolytes, which leads to dehydration.
To avoid this potentially deadly issue, it is vital to maintain proper hydration pre, during, and post-running, supporting your body and overall health. Whether you drink water filtered through ceramic filters or bottled spring water, maintaining the necessary hydration levels should be your top priority.
Drinking Too Little Pre-Run
If your strategy is to wake up the morning of a long run or race and chug a ton of water, you are approaching your water intake completely wrong. Proper hydration begins before the day you will need it most, with experts recommending you give yourself two days of monitored water consumption.
This allows your body to regulate water and adequately supply the vital organs and muscles with what they require. Overcompensating prior to a race or long run will not only cause you to take more breaks than necessary, but it can also potentially lead to overhydration, which can have life-threatening consequences.
Drinking Too Much During the Run
During a race, you should be sipping on water, not overloading your body will big gulps and large quantities. This can lead to overhydration, or hyponatremia, where the sodium levels in your body drop dangerously low due to being diluted by extra fluid.
Your aim should be 8 oz of water every 10 to 15 minutes as you run, with a more frequent intake on hot days. But do not increase the amount you consume to allow your body a chance to use the water as needed before receiving another dose.
No Hydration Plan
Many different factors will influence the amount of fluids you will need while running. And the needs of every runner will be affected by her circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to plan out a personalized hydration plan for yourself, as no two people require the same thing.
With a proper plan, you will avoid guzzling water unnecessarily, prevent yourself from skipping the water you need, and ultimately allow your body to perform at its optimum level. If you are concerned there will not be adequate opportunities to hydrate during your run, consider carrying your own bottle or arranging for someone to provide for you on the route.
Not Replenishing Lost Electrolytes
The average person will lose roughly half a liter of sweat for every 30 minutes of exercise they do. This amount can increase with hot weather and due to the intensity of the workout. Sweat mainly comprises of water but includes important electrolytes the body needs to function correctly: sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Losing these crucial minerals causes your body to dehydrate and can lead to muscle cramps and spasms. In addition, sodium is lost in the highest quantity when you sweat, so it is essential to increase your sodium intake to stay properly hydrated.
Incorrect Sports Drink
Those who work out longer than one hour or exercise in hot weather should turn to sports drinks to help replenish their bodies with key electrolytes. However, without the proper research, you could potentially harm your body by choosing the wrong one. Adults and children alike should only reach for a sports drink over water in these two particular circumstances. Water should always be the first choice when hydrating the body.
Many choose sugar-free, calorie-free, or low-sodium options, but your body needs carbohydrates and sodium during the replenishing stage. Furthermore, it is advised to avoid highly caffeinated energy drinks, which can cause elevated blood pressure, irritability, and a higher risk of dehydration.
Lack of Magnesium
Magnesium is responsible for restoring your hydration level during the recovery stage post-workout. But many people do not reach their recommended daily dose, ultimately preventing their bodies from maximizing this process. Magnesium can be found in supplement form or naturally in legumes, seeds, whole grains, leafy greens, milk, and yogurt.
Additionally, magnesium will help with leg cramps and muscle pains as it helps the muscles to relax. Like all essential vitamins and minerals, it is possible to exceed the amount your body can absorb. Going over the recommended amount can lead to nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. Far exceeding the daily dose can have deadly consequences like irregular heartbeat and potentially cardiac arrest.
Alcohol Post Run
Completing a marathon, short course race, or even an intense workout can be an exciting and emotional experience, but before you grab that celebratory beer, refueling your body correctly should be your top priority. Drinking alcohol after exercise will deplete your body of the little hydration it may still be clinging onto.
Instead, reach for a sports drink or bottled water to sip on while you refuel with small food items that contain carbohydrates, protein, and salt. Grab chocolate milk if you are tired of the taste of sports drinks. As a bonus, the calcium and magnesium will help kickstart muscle recovery.
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