Most avid athletes and gym-goers understand the importance of hydration for a good workout. Keeping yourself topped up with H2O as you train helps regulate body temperature, replace the fluids lost through sweat, and fuel your muscles to noticeably improve endurance.
Many people assume that a healthy hydration routine is mostly about replacing lost fluids, however, while there’s certainly some truth to this, the real key is to remain hydrated for the duration of your workout to help your body operate safely and efficiently.
With some recent studies suggesting only 22% of the US population drink enough water per day, here’s a simple guide on how to improve your hydration routine for a better workout and get the most out of your daily exercise.
Hydrate before you exercise
You might want to simply jump into a workout routine when you find an appropriate time, but it’s incredibly important to hydrate before you’ve even moved a muscle. Starting a workout when dehydrated can cause your core temperature to rise faster than normal, and in turn lead to your heart working overtime to regulate your body.
Not only will this affect your performance, but in hot weather you may find yourself dealing with a dangerous bout of heatstroke. To prevent this, aim to drink around 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours prior to exercising, and a further 8 ounces 30 minutes before your workout is set to begin.
Hydration during exercise
The average person sweats between 27-47 ounces every hour during a standard workout routine, so to keep your energy levels up, it’s advised you replace these fluids as you train. The exact amount of water you’ll need will vary depending on how much you sweat, for example, men tend to sweat more than women and larger people tend to sweat more than people with smaller builds.
A good rule to stick by is to drink 7-10 ounces of water for every 10-20 minutes of exercise. Bring a water bottle along with you to the gym or on your run and try to skip the sports drinks to avoid the added sugar. If you are desperate for some flavor, opt for a natural alternative like JUST infused water instead.
How much to drink after a workout
Even if you’ve taken on a healthy amount of water during your workout, chances are you’ll be thirsty by the time you’ve finished. Rehydrating post-workout is important to not only fully restore your lost fluids, but also to aid your muscles during the recovery process.
The sooner you top yourself up after exercise, the quicker the recovery process will be, so make a habit of rehydrating as soon as you’ve cooled down. There are calculations available to work out exactly how much water to drink post-workout, but a simple rule to stick by is to drink enough that your urine runs almost clear.
Can I drink too much water?
It is possible to drink too much water and doing so can bring on some particularly harmful conditions such as hyponatraemia, though by keeping an eye on your urine and only drinking measured amounts of water you should be able to avoid over-hydrating.
Having said this, if you’re:
- Feeling bloated
- Have a headache
- Feel disoriented
- Feel the need to vomit
It’s best to seek medical advice just to be safe. You could also considering learn more about your body by taking a holistic health course to learn how to create your own wellness routine.
We’d also like to add that rewarding yourself with a post-workout alcoholic drink can be very dangerous, as alcohol is a diuretic which removes the water from your body, so give yourself at least a few hours before thinking about a boozy treat.
The key to a successful and healthy workout is ensuring that you’re hydrated from start to finish. By preparing for your daily exercise with some water prior to your workout, replenishing your fluids during your routine and rehydrating as soon as you’ve cooled down, you can provide your body with all it needs to stay fit and healthy.
Keep an eye on how much water you’re taking on and try to avoid sports drinks in favor of plain water or an infused water drink, by doing this you should be able to optimize your body for an overall more effective workout routine.
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