Water- An absolute essential to all forms of life- Not only covers 71% of earth surface but also makes 55-60% of our own body composition. Water is the second most important criteria for survival after Oxygen. This becomes doubly true for fitness enthusiasts.
You can lose a lot of water content while exercising- maybe a liter or more. So it is important to be hydrated. A simple way to make sure you are hydrated is by checking the color of your urine. If the color of urine is colorless or light yellow, you are most likely to be hydrated. Dark color or amber color urine can be sign of dehydration.
How much water you should drink while exercising?
The requirement depends on factors like workout intensity, duration of exercise, type of clothing while exercising and climatic conditions.
The American Council of Exercise has given guidelines on how much water to consume before, during and after exercise.
• 500ml-750ml of water 2-3 hours prior to exercise
• 250ml of water 20-30 minutes prior to exercise or during the warm up session
• 250ml-300ml of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise
• 250ml of water within 30 minutes after exercise.
For athletes, it is important to measure how much fluid they lose during workout. The easiest way to identify it is check your weight before and after the session. The difference seen is the amount of water lost which needs to replenished.
Not replenishing the lost fluid may lead to dehydration.
Dehydration can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of dehydration can include the following:
• Dizziness or lightheaded feeling.
• Nausea or vomiting.
• Muscle cramps.
• Dry mouth.
• Lack of sweating.
• Hard, fast heartbeat.
In case of severe dehydration, can lead to mental confusion and loss of consciousness.
Do you need to consume sports drink??
Now water is not the only thing you lose when you sweat while exercising. Sweat also contains electrolytes like sodium, potassium and calcium. Sports drink helps to maintain right electrolyte balance of the body resulting into improved performance and better energy levels.
Ideally a sports drink carbohydrates should come from glucose, sucrose or fructose which are quickly and easily absorbed by the body.
• If you’re doing moderate amounts of exercise, you won’t need them. Simple water is often the best thing to drink during and after a workout. If you’re exercising for less than an hour, water is all you need.
• If you’re exercising for longer than an hour, sports drinks can help you keep going for longer.
Choose your sports drink wisely. Always check the nutrition label before buying or consuming. They are often high in calories from added sugar and may contain high levels of sodium. Some sports drinks contain caffeine. So be careful not to add too much caffeine to your diet. Caffeine may cause a diuretic effect on your body. This means that you may have to urinate more often.
How much is too much??
Drinking too much can potentially be harmful as it can cause a rare condition called hyponatremia. This is when you drink more fluid than you lose through sweating and peeing. The excess water dilutes the salts in your body and your cells swell up, which can cause a number of problems. The amount you have to drink to get hyponatremia varies hugely from person to person.
The symptoms include:
• Confused or disorientated
• feeling sick or vomiting
If you have any of the symptoms above while you’re drinking while exercising, seek urgent medical advice.