9 Jun 2015

Win The Battle Against Dehydration

One of the best ways to get the most out of your workout is to stay hydrated. Most people are constantly dehydrated and don’t even know it. When you add physical activity on top of this you are losing essentials through sweating, you need to replace these in order to avoid dehydration and fatigue. Even during the winter months when the weather is colder it is possible to become dehydrated, even if you don’t  notice how much you are sweating, you are still are. When you are lacking on liquids your blood becomes thicker causing your heart to work harder, and leaves you feeling fatigued, you might find it harder to concentrate, and you may suffer from headaches. No one wants to be feeling worse after working out.

One might be surprised to know that water may not always be the right choice when trying to refuel your body. Keep reading to find out the best way to stay hydrated before, during, and after physical activities. 

Pre-Workout Hydration

Before you begin working out you need to make sure your body is ready to go. If you think about your body like a car, and water as the fuel, it makes it easier to see why you would need to hydrate before working out. You wouldn’t drive a car without putting petrol in it first, right? Well you shouldn’t workout without first drinking some liquids. If you are preparing for a big race, you should start drinking ample amounts of fluids a minimum of 24 hours before. The day of the event you should be hydrating about two hours before. This will give your body the time it needs to cycle through the liquids, and you wont be left feeling full during the event. You can be drinking water, or sports drinks during this time to make sure you have enough sugar and sodium in your system. If you are hydrating just to work out you don’t need to be as exacting with the timing of hydration. Just be sure you aren’t downing two glasses of water immediately prior to running out the door. This could lead to side aches or cramps while working out. 

It is always good to be consuming water throughout the day, but if you know you are going to be doing some physical activity it is vital that you stay hydrated. Something that might not be as common, but has amazing benefits, is green tea. This would be a great thing to drink a few hours before working out. It has been proven that consuming green tea can help burn fat, increase metabolism, improve physical activity, and increase energy. The caffeine that plain water lacks will help increase your workout performance. If you are not a fan of green tea no worries, as long as you are drinking some liquids such as water or sports drinks you are starting off on the right foot.

Hydration During Workout

Once you begin working out, if you do it right, you will start sweating and losing the liquids you just put into your body. As a way to combat this you need to be drinking about 230ml of water every 20 minutes during the workout. Take it slow; you don’t want to flood your body with water all at once.  It will make for an uncomfortable workout of water sloshing around inside you. If your workout lasts longer than 40 minutes you should drink something other than water. Whether you choose a sports drinks or coconut water doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a fluid that will replace the sodium, calories, and carbohydrates that you are losing.

Post-Workout Hydration

Now that the workout is over, it is time to fully hydrate. If you have been taking the steps above, it shouldn’t take too much work to hydrate, since you won’t be as dehydrated had you not followed a pre and during work hydration routine. The amount of water a person should consume after a workout varies. There are many factors such as height, weight, intensity of workout and so on, that go into determining how much you need to drink. One way to decide this would be by weighing yourself before and after a workout. Anything that has been lost in that time is likely water weight and needs to be replaced. So one rule of thumb is every pound lost requires about 470ml of water, this amount differs depending on whom you ask. There are many websites that can be used to help figure out how much water you should be drinking based on the many factors. One of our favourites is the hydration calculator through Camelbak. They make it easy to customize for your workout. View the Camelbak Hydration Calculator here!

It is possible to over-hydrate the body, which can lead to serious problems. Although this is a very rare scenario and usually only athletes who are doing high-level exercise like marathon running suffers, it is a very serious condition called hyponatremia. It basically means that you do not have enough sodium in your blood stream. This can be avoided by drinking things other than water such as sports drinks, coconut water, protein powders and even chocolate milk.

Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate the body. Most sports drinks have electrolytes in them that are especially good to drink post workout. After intense workouts it is common to have tears in your muscle tissue. These tears can be mended by consuming protein, either by a shake, or smoothie, or some foods such as chicken, fish, steak and many other available options. Consuming protein will help to repair and build muscle and will reduce muscular soreness post-workout (especially intense over the first few days after your workout). Studies have shown that consuming protein within 20-60 minutes of your workout is essential to achieving the optimal results.

Chocolate milk is a good drink to have after a really long workout. It has the extra calcium, carbohydrates, and sodium that your body is currently lacking. To have the best effects you need to drink it immediately after the workout. Even if you are not doing physical activity, it is important to be drinking water throughout your day. It is good for every part of your body and aids in the everyday processes that you naturally go through.

Hydration Essentials

With all the water and other liquids you will be drinking it is important to not be wasteful using throwaway plastic bottles. These are bad for the environment and can be unhealthy for you since the plastic chemicals can seep into your water. No need to worry there are safe alternatives that can be used! At onsport.com.au we offer various water bottles perfect for any activity you may be doing. One staff favourite is the Camelbak eddy water bottle range. The Camelbak eddy comes in many different sizes and colours. Camelbak also offers hydration backpack versions and side packs. Since there are so many options available it is perfect for everything from sitting at your office to hiking up a mountain. Camelbak bottles are BPA free, meaning you don’t need to worry about any chemicals from the plastics getting into your water. Other popular hydration brands include FuelBelt and Nathan Sports running belts and bottles made specifically for sport and fitness. These are great when you need to use your hands a lot, or don’t want to worry about holding something while you are exercising. FuelBelt and Nathan Sports provide hydration products that are available in belt, waist pack and vest formats, so that you can customize your hydration experience. Choosing these options will make is easier for you to stay on track with drinking water, as well as helping cut down on harmful waste in the environment.

Share your hydration tips with us by leaving a comment below!