The Importance of Hydration: During, Pre- and Post-Workout

The Importance of Hydration: During, Pre- and Post-Workout

Last update: 09 July, 2018

Hydration is important. We must take this into account during sports, either competition or hobby.

Hydration- During, Pre- and Post- Workout

The human body (at rest) can endure 15 days without eating, but only three days without hydration. After intense aerobic exercise, such as a three hour marathon, we can face dehydration within a few hours if we are not well prepared.

The market offers plenty of drinks for athletes with a variety of features and functions. We have drinks aimed at different sports, depending on the intensity and requirements. And we also have drinks that include ergogenic substances that make us perform better.

But not only do we have to decide what type of drinks we need, but in what moment of the activity we should consume them. The quantity, temperature, and composition (among other factors) will depend on the type of sport and the moment of exercise.

What it depends on …

If your exercise involves going to the gym for a few hours each day, be calm. Hydrate regularly while you are there, especially during cardio activities such as spinning, zumba or step. These activities require more effort from you, and you will sweat more.

Man resting while running on the beach

If you are more into weights or toning exercises, such as, anaerobic exercise, your loss due to sweating will be less. It is recommended that you stay hydrated but this exercise does present less risk of dehydration.

The problem with hydration has been noted by the press. More and more cases are in the news; amateur athletes, who have been treated by medical services for dehydration. Just as we search the internet for ‘ how to have hard glutes’,  we should also learn how to identify when our body is dehydrating.

Symptoms where you need to hydrate yourself

  • Thirst sensation (Obviously)
  • If your urine is dark
  • Dry lips and nostrils.
  • You start to sweat less, even if you keep exercising.

If you keep exercising, you can suffer all of these symptoms during exercise:

From here, I hope you will have a medical team nearby.

What can I do?

It is important that we begin exercise or a sporting competition hydrated. This does not mean that ten minutes before its start, we drink a pint and a half of water. If we do this, we will swell, have digestive pains due to the movement and quantity of water and finally, we will be forced to stop. Do not risk this!

“Playing sports makes you feel alive”

-Rafael Nadal-

If in the days leading up to exercise or sporting competitions, we drink adequate amounts of liquid (around 1.5L) and consume water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, it is enough.

Drink about 220ml, before starting and plan the possibility of ingesting a drink during the activity.

Let us put ourselves in the worst case …

I am a person that stays in shape, but I do not usually do physical exercise and my friends have tricked me into signing up for a marathon. So, since we are going, let us take it seriously. Several days before, I take care of my food , I learn the route, where the refreshments will be etc.

Pre-Competition Tips

The day arrives, and it is 35 degrees Celsius in the shade. If you were planning to drink a 220 ml drink before exercise, raise the amount to 500ml, to take into account the losses due to excess temperature.

If instead, you decide to drink a ‘PowerAde’ this is an isotonic drink, and you will absorb it quickly. Surely it is good to drink a very cold drink, since it is hot? Error! If the drink is very cold, it will take longer to absorb and can give you gastrointestinal pain. The best temperature is between 15-20 degrees Celsius. 

Tips during the competition

Is there a refreshment stand at 10 km, or halfway through the route? Take advantage of it! It is your chance to replace salts and electrolytes. Be attentive to your body, it is better to stop before you struggle.

Post-competition advice

Alcohol and its effects on hydration

Consuming alcohol after physical exercise has consequences.

Exhausted after having managed to complete the marathon, they offer me a bottle of water and I gulp it straight down! Relax, drink a couple of drinks and wait, you just did an intense exercise and your body is still adapting.

I am very tired, I am not hungry, but I am going with friends to celebrate? Pay attention! It is better that you eat something to replace the carbohydrates that you have spent. If you drink alcohol you will increase dehydration . Wait until you have recovered .

It may seem that hydration is the only problem that we can solve by drinking water, but more factors influence hydration than we thought. Before you embark on an exercise learn how to keep your body hydrated. 


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.