Here are three main reasons your workout just won’t work without it (and neither will your body):
- It regulates your body temperature. Do you know why your face gets red during exercise? The blood vessels on its surface expand as your body sheds heat. Without proper hydration, however, those vessels require a higher temperature before they engage, which means you stay hotter, longer.
- It assists your heart. Dehydration can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. Without proper hydration, your blood volume plummets, which means your heart has to work overtime to pump it through your blood vessels to your muscles, while delivering oxygen to your cells.
- It acts as a transportation system for nutrients. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – among other essential nutrients the body uses for energy – are carried throughout your body by water. Water also helps to rid your body of metabolic waste produced when you exercise.
Proper hydration also helps to lubricate the body’s joints and cartilage, while fostering more supple skin and providing your muscles with electrolytes.
Recognize the Signs of Dehydration
When you lose more fluid than you take in, bad things inevitably occur.
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
- Lack of sweating
- Accelerated heartbeat
Severe dehydration can even lead to confusion and loss of consciousness. Prolonged dehydration during exercise can cause heat illness, such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Any of the above conditions should prompt medical attention and treatment.
Thirst is a pretty solid indicator that you’re nearing dehydration or are already there. Additionally, the color of your urine is a hallmark – proper hydration will result in urine that is light yellow or almost colorless. Urine that is dark yellow is an indicator something is amiss. If this is the case, increase your fluid intake.
How Much Should You Drink?
Exercise causes our bodies to lose water faster. During a one-hour session, your body can lose several liters as you breathe heavier and sweat more.
How much water one needs can vary from person to person, dependent upon the temperature of the gym or training studio, what you are wearing, the intensity of the workout, and your natural proclivity to sweat.
A good rule of thumb, however, is to drink 17-20 ounces of water anywhere from 2-3 hours before heading to the fitness studio. Once you’ve started working out, drink 7-10 ounces every 20-30 minutes while exercising, bookended by 8 ounces 30 minutes before and no more than 30 minutes after your session.
For high-intensity workouts lasting longer than an hour, an energy drink may hit the spot and help to replenish electrolytes. For most people, however, water is all that’s required for proper hydration.
Proper hydration is easily overlooked by individuals who simply want to make the most of their session. The certified trainers at Fitness Together Ellicott City won’t let hydration fall by the wayside. Our trainers will keep a close eye on your fluid intake to optimize your workout and keep you healthy. Call us today at 410-750-2228 to learn more.