Staying Hydrated

In fitness, probably the most important thing to do is to stay hydrated. With your body being 60% water, it is the bedrock upon which all your health and fitness goals depend upon. But the method to staying hydrated does not simply lie in what you do during the workout, it is a lifestyle. To stay hydrated, you need to take steps before, during, and after your workout to make sure your body’s water levels are always optimal.

Before

            What you eat and drink on a regular basis will affect your hydration levels(actually its the only thing aside from sweating). As such, you’ll want to eat foods that promote hydration as much as possible. Fruits contain high amounts of water with watermelon having the highest, water being 90% of its content. It’s tasty, filling, and gets water in your system. Vegetables are not as chock full of H20 but they do provide some nutrient-rich water that’s great for your system and overall health. A healthy combination of both types will go a long way towards ensuring your hydration. On top of this, you probably want to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, depending on your activity level. If water is boring your palette, try adding a few drops of lemon juice for flavor. If you’re feeling really creative, try mixing sparkling water with various extracts to create a tasty yet healthy concoction. However, what won’t add to your hydration is alcohol, which can drain you pretty quickly. Whenever you enjoy wine or a cold brewsky on a hot summer day, try to follow it up with 8 ounces of water. Keeping a one to one ratio of water and alcohol will ensure you don’t have any problems. When it is time to hit the gym, make sure to weigh yourself before you leave. The importance of this will be apparent later.

During

            Depending on the activity level, you’ll want to drink between 4 and 8 ounces of water every twenty minutes. When you are sweating, you’re losing water from your body, so its important to stay on top of it and replace whatever you lose. If your exercise routine is exceeding 40 minutes in length, you are losing electrolytes and various vitamins. You might want to switch to a sport drink such as gatorade to help replace these electrolytes to keep you going.

After

            Just because the exercising is over doesn’t mean your hydration needs are. As soon as you get home, weigh yourself. Drink 8 ounces of water for every pound you lost since you started working out. Make sure to consume at least a bottle of a electrolyte and vitamin replacing sport drink and continue to drink your necessary glasses of water. The morning after your workout, weigh yourself again. If you’re body weight is 1-3% lower, continue drinking water to replenish what you lost. If your body weight is lower than that, you should probably take the day off to rehydrate. If you are properly hydrated, you should be urinating every 2-4 hours.

            Of course, nobody is a better judge of your hydration than yourself and its important that you recognize your body’s needs before any hydration plan or guide. If you feel like you are becoming dehydrated during a workout despite your precautions, stop and recuperate. On the flip side, don’t force water down your throat if you feel you don’t need it. Although most athletes won’t have this problem, there is the risk of hyponatremia, which is when you take in so much water that you dilute your sodium in your system to dangerous levels. Essentially, hydration is all about a balance that only you can know. But if you stay on top of your hydration, you should stay safe during your workout or whatever mother nature throws at you.

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