Cute kicks and the perfect playlist *aren’t* the make-it-or-break-it of a sweat sessions. Your hydration levels are. Whether you’re a fan of water or not, there’s no denying that we all need it for our bodies to work, and definitely to work out.
The amount of water you need depends on a range of factors, such as climatic conditions, your health, your clothing, your exercise intensity and duration. So, being well hydrated will differ per person and situation. You probably need more fluid if:
- you sweat heavily
- you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease
- you have cystic fibrosis, which means you have a high concentration of sodium in your sweat
- you are using a medication that can act as a diuretic, causing your body to lose more fluid
- you have a bigger body size
- you are fit (because fitter people tend to sweat more and earlier in their exercise)
- you are doing vigorous exercise
- you are active in hot or humid conditions.
Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink. In fact, if you feel thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. A good test of dehydration is the colour of your urine. If it’s pale and clear it means you’re well hydrated. The darker it is, the more fluid you need to drink.
We lose water when we exercise
How? By sweating. Exercise raises our internal body temperature. The body sweats to regulate our internal temperature, and cool us down. And while sweating is a good thing because it result in water loss also Dehydration keeps this natural cooling mechanism from working optimally.
Hydration levels affect exercise performance
Even mild dehydration can cause you to become sluggish and lethargic and as certified trainer says, “It’s pretty tough to maximize performance when you’re feeling lethargic.” In fact, a research review showed that even mild dehydration can negatively affect a person’s maximal aerobic power and cardiovascular output.
Exercising while dehydrated can be absolute dangerous
“It’s pretty obvious why being dizzy and not concentrated while you’re exercising could be dangerous”. You could go flying off the treadmill, drop a weight on your foot, or injure yourself in another way you wouldn’t if you weren’t dizzy or confused.
If you get so dehydrated that you’re dizzy, step away from the elliptical and seek out medical attention.
The popular 8-by-8 rule that’s eight 8-ounce glasses (or 64 total ounces) of water a day is a good baseline. You should add an additional 10 to 12 ounces of water to that baseline daily for every 30 minutes that you exercise.
When you wake up. Drink 16 ounces of water. After a night of sleeping (and TBH, sweating) you are probably dehydrated. Before your workout (2 to 3 hours). Drink between 17 to 20 ounces of water. During your workout, drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes. So, during a 60-minute workout, you should be consuming at least 42 ounces. (Yay, math!)
Unless you’re full of sweat from your workout, you actually don’t want to be overachieving here. If you guzzle down a whole lot of water mid-workout, your belly will feel full and sloshy and you’ll end up also risking getting cramps. After your workout, drink at least 16 more ounces of water within the hour after your workout ends. The absolute best way to make sure you’re hydrated would be to weigh yourself before your workout, and then weigh yourself after your workout, that’s a really good technique suggested by professional trainers. A lot of people will weigh themselves after exercising and feel good about losing 2 or 3 pounds, but they shouldn’t because it’s actually indicating that they need to drink water. “For every pound you’ve lost, you want to drink 20 ounces of water.”
Drink water when you’re thirsty and ideally 8 ounces with every meal. Enlisted below are ways to stay hydrated throughout the day:
- Keep a reusable bottle of water with you during the day.
- Try some infused water combos if you’re tired of regular water.
- Drink sparkling water.
- Dilute flavored beverages (like OJ) with water.
- Set regular “drink water” alerts on your phone.
- Use a hydration app like Water Minder, Hydro Coach and different phone apps to keep the track.
To ward off injury and maximize performance during exercise while you sweat, water is definitely your workout BFF. Trust, staying properly hydrated will also make you feel good outside the gym too.