Exercise is a crucial part of our daily lives; however, we tend to lose a substantial amount of body fluids in the process when we perform it. Once this fluid is lost, the only way we can gain it back is by adequately hydrating our body.
Hydration is the process of adding water molecules to a substance. You’ve probably come across the saying “water is life,” this is true as excessive dehydration causes complications that might lead to death. The purpose of this article is to inform you of the importance of staying hydrated while working out.
Fluids are responsible for keeping our bodies in a hydrated state; without them, the bodily functions are performed poorly. Lack of enough fluid consumption can cause;
High temperature and heart rates this because the body lacks enough water to regulate heat in the body.
A feeling of fatigue stronger than usual.
Lack of proper brain function. Dehydration can cause lower motor control, a lowered decision-making capacity, and reduced concentration.
Slower bodily functions. Dehydration may cause discomfort in the stomach due to gastric emptying.
Lowered sport/exercise performance; accelerates when you’re active in hot conditions.
To eliminate these annoying attributes, you should drink enough fluids while exercising, making fluid replacement part of the physical activity. Drink enough fluids to maintain concentration, endurance, and performance levels, while keeping the heart rate elevations at a controllable level. Hydration helps build muscle as water helps transport nutrients to the cells and waste out of the body.
What Hydration Means
Water is needed in the body depending on a range of factors, such as climate, health needs, clothing, and exercise intensity and duration; it is essential to note that hydration needs vary from person-to-person.
In general, you will need to hydrate if you;
Tend to sweat heavily.
Have certain medical conditions, for example, diabetes and heart disease.
Have a case of cystic fibrosis, meaning that there is a high concentration of sodium in your sweat
Are under medication acting as a diuretic, meaning the body is losing more fluid
Have a bigger body size, or you have gained a bigger body recently
You are fit; this is important as a fitter individual sweats more and earlier in the exercise
Are performing highly intensive exercises
Are active in humid conditions
You shouldn’t have to feel thirsty to drink water; in fact, thirst indicates dehydration. The color of urine is a clear indicator of the level of hydration your body is in. Essentially, darker urine means you are more dehydrated, hence the more fluid you need to drink.
While exercising, if you barely sweat, this indicates the level of dehydration you are in; lack of sweat indicates dehydration and possible heat exhaustion.
Dehydration occurs when the body lacks enough water to sustain itself. The body sends out several signals indicating this state.
These include headaches, mood changes, fatigue, slow reaction times, dry nasal passages, dry/cracked lips, darker urine, weakness, muscle cramps/pulls, confusion, and in the extreme leads to hallucinations.
Increase your fluid intake as first aid if you experience any of the above symptoms; lack of rehydration may affect your body’s physical and mental performance. Training your body to handle dehydration is impossible and should be avoided at all times; instead, drink water constantly.
How Sweat Leads To Dehydration
When exercising, the body’s natural response is to sweat, as it tries to regulate temperature. In the process, the body loses a lot of fluid; drinking fluid while exercising replaces the amount of fluid lost. Rehydration assists with avoiding heat stress while maintaining normal bodily function and performance levels.
Generally, more sweat means the body needs more fluid intake. However, it is important to note that overhydration can also be harmful to your health; hence you need to work out the exact amount of water you should be drinking; you can do this by calculating your sweat rate; if you find this problematic, consult a doctor or a specialist trainer.
Fluids You Should Be Taking While Exercising
Water provides the best option for thirst satisfaction and fluid replacement.
Some athletes use sports drinks containing electrolytes and carbohydrates in concentrations allowing the body to refuel during exercise. These drinks are essential in moderate to highly-intensive physical activity that lasts for more than 60 minutes.
Fruits and vegetables contain a high portion of water and can help with fluid replacement.
Fluids To Avoid While Exercising
Fluid intake is essential during exercise; however, not all fluids are recommended for physical activity. Generally, you should avoid;
Cordial, soft drinks, or juice, this is because they are high in carbohydrates and low in sodium.
Caffeine, since it can be a diuretic, allowing you to pass more urine.
Fluid Intake After Exercising
To execute rehydration effectively, aim at consuming more than one and a half times the fluid lost while exercising. However, ensure this intake is spread over the next two to six hours.
Rehydration should cater for more than the fluid lost during exercise as you lose more fluid after the exercise through sweat and urine.
Pairing a good exercise routine with adequate hydration is the best path to follow for anyone, including professional athletes. Having the proper knowledge of the amount of fluid you consume while exercising is crucial in avoiding the adverse effects of overhydration. Storing these fluids is essential as it can ease your workload; investing in a beverage pouch or two for your sports drinks is the best way to go.
Drink more fluids both while exercising and while you’re not active to achieve better results. Good luck, and keep hydrated.
Dr. Campitelli is a podiatrist in Akron, OH specializing in foot and ankle surgery with an interest and enthusiasm for running as well as helping runners with injuries. For the past several years he has been treating running injuries in patients by fixing their form and transitioning them to minimalist shoes. Having treated runners with all types of injuries through conservative measures with orthotics and shoe gear changes to reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, Dr. Campitelli has brought what works best and is most current to his practice as well as the Akron and Cleveland running communities.