How to Hydrate Properly While Doing Sports
It's very important to drink water before feeling thirsty. When you feel thirsty it means that you're already experiencing the first symptoms of dehydration.
Surely you have read or heard that you should drink at least two liters of water per day? You probably also know that you should increase your fluid intake when it’s hot or when you practice sports. What you probably do not know, however, is how to incorporate more fluids into your daily life. In this article, we’ll share some tips with you about how to hydrate properly while training.
Hydrating while training: drink lots of liquids
Maybe after you heard that you should drink two liters of fluid a day, you counted the beer that you drank after work and thought that you exceeded that amount. Don’t fool yourself! Although beer contains water, it isn’t counted as a healthy intake.
Moreover, soft-drinks, coffee, and alcoholic drinks all end up facilitating dehydration.
The liquids that count towards your two liters a day are water, homemade juices, sugar-free infusions, and tea.
You may ask yourself how the specific amount of two liters came to be? The specific amount is not a fad. It’s the standard measurement of liquid needed in order for the body to work properly.
Now, everybody is different and the specific individual amount of water needed varies from person to person. It also depends on physical requirements, the time of the year and activities performed. Therefore, if you have started to exercise, it would be best to increase your intake to two and a half or three liters a day. While training you should drink at least one-third of your daily intake.
Water and physical activity
Liquid plays a very important role in the body. It helps to maintain body temperature and keep the fluids in the blood in balance. The body works best when properly hydrated. When dehydrated, heart rate increases, muscular resistance decreases, strength is lost, cramps may appear and exhaustion occurs. Other symptoms include headaches and disorientation.
Beware, however, over-hydration is also harmful, it decreases the amount of sodium in the blood and this can lead to respiratory failure or cerebral edema.
How do you know if you have drunk enough water? There is a technique that can help: if your urine is clear and almost transparent, it could mean that you have already removed all of the toxins from your body. It’s important to remember to start from scratch every day.
As for the best way to hydrate while performing physical activity, there’s no specific strategy that can serve everyone equally. The following guidelines, however, can be useful:
- Before: consume a least half a liter of water two hours before exercising.
- During: experts advise drinking 200 milliliters for every 20 minutes spent training. (This can be done every 15 minutes if it’s hot).
- After: drink liquids to replenish your weight-loss. This can be tricky, the method consists of weighing yourself before and after exercising. The idea is to drink water to make up for the liquids lost through perspiration.
If you are not in the habit of drinking water during the day, you can try to carry a water bottle everywhere you go. You can also place an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you or leave a glass of water on your desk while you work.
Finally, keep in mind that there are certain foods that counteract the effects of water such as coffee, soft drinks, salty foods, and alcohol. Try to reduce your intake of the liquids that cause dehydration.