Making up 60% of the human body, water is necessary for you to live. It helps you flush toxins from the body, maintain a healthy weight, and contribute to regular bowel movements. When you drink enough water every day, you can experience more youthful-looking skin, optimal muscle performance, and higher energy levels. Failure to drink enough water, however, can cause adverse symptoms that contribute to an unhealthy body.
One of the quickest ways to put the body in a mild state of dehydration is to avoid drinking water before, during, and after workouts. You lose water and electrolytes via sweat when you exercise, and dehydration can prevent you from achieving your workout goals. The amount of water in the body affects the way your muscles, cells, and even brain functions. When you properly hydrate, you may actually optimize exercise performance.
Drinking enough water helps your blood pump more efficiently and works to cool you down more quickly. The exact amount of water you need to drink will depend on your workout and level of exertion. The temperature, humidity, location of workout, and intensity level will influence your water needs. One of the best indicators of being hydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. The goal is to have pale yellow urine, not a darker yellow. Continue reading to learn more about hydration mistakes that most people make during exercise.
You Don’t Drink Enough Before, During, And After A Workout
Exercise experts advise people to drink about 17-20 ounces of water in the two hours leading up to a workout. Additionally, you should drink another eight ounces about 20-30 minutes before you start your workout. During a workout, aim to drink another eight ounces of water every 10-15 minutes. Once you complete your workout, drink about 12-24 ounces of water. If you had a real sweat session, you will need to drink more fluids and electrolytes, which brings us to the next mistake people make.
You Don’t Replenish Electrolytes You Lose
On average, people lose up to half a liter of sweat every 30 minutes during exercise. This will depend on how intense the workout is and whether or not you regularly take breaks. It can rise to three or four liters of sweat per hour, especially if the metabolic rate is high. Sweat consists of mostly water, but it also contains magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. These minerals are electrolytes and they assist with numerous bodily functions. For example, they aid with waste removal, nutrient absorption, and water distribution. Sodium is the most prominent electrolyte you lose via sweat, so it is wise to consume electrolytes post workout, or even during a workout to counteract your loss of these minerals.
There Is No Plan For Hydration
If you go for a jog, take a long walk, or go on a hike, you may not always bring water. This is a mistake. Always have water at the ready if you plan to engage in physical activity. Do not rely on water fountains to keep you hydrated, because they won’t. People who forget to bring water tend to get dehydrated and then guzzle water after their workout. By then, it’s too late for the body to experience the benefits of hydrating before and during your workout. Plan your hydration around your workout and you won’t put the body in a state of dehydration.
Your Sports Drink Choice Is All Wrong
Gatorade, Pedialyte, Powerade, and Vitamin Water tend to be the go-to brands for electrolyte drinks. Unfortunately, these drinks contain a lot of sugar and may only benefit you if you are really breaking a sweat. A better electrolyte-rich beverage is coconut water because it contains sodium, manganese, potassium, and has a low sugar content. Always check the label, though, because some brands sneak added sugars into the drink. Avoid caffeinated, high-sugar energy drinks because they can actually raise blood pressure and increase the risk of dehydration.
You Count On Thirst As An Indicator Of When To Drink
When you need fluids, the body will let you know, right? It will, but only after you are in a mild state of dehydration. The body doesn’t send you a strong signal that it needs water until you are 2% dehydrated. This degree of dehydration may not seem like it affects your health, but it is enough to negatively impact your performance. It may also make your workout seem a lot harder than it is. Don’t wait until you are thirsty because you are too late at that point and you’ll start the process of catching up.