We have heard that earth is 70% water, but did you know the same is true for the human body? Our muscle tissue is comprised of 70% water, and fatty tissue has 20%water. Water has many jobs in the body. It transports nutrients in the cells, removes waste, cushions organs and aids in digestion. When it comes to our workouts though, our hydration levels can make or break our workouts.
Check out the info below for some amazing facts!
We have all heard different opinions on how much water to drink. Is it 8 glasses, 12 or more? I believe you should listen to your body and watch for the signs of dehydration. First, if you feel thirsty you are already a little dehydrated. The color of your urine is the best indicator. If it is dark yellow you are dehydrated. It should be light or more like lemon juice in color.
Hydration before a workout is imperative. Drink at least 8-12 oz. an hour or so before exercise to keep your endurance levels high and reduce muscle fatigue. Your performance in a workout can be reduced pretty significantly from being dehydrated. I believe where the confusion usually comes in is with what and how much to drink is after a workout.
A lot of people reach for those sports drinks when they should be reaching for water. Sports drinks such as Gatorade are great for replenishing electrolytes lost through sweating A LOT. The focus here is A LOT. Unless you are an excessive sweater, or your workout is at least 60-90 min. of hardcore activity, all you need to drink is water. Remember those sports drinks have calories and sugar that can negate your efforts. Also, sometimes the artificially sweetened versions have been linked to cravings later in the day which can cancel out your efforts as well.
Endurance athletes in races lasing 3-5 hours should be consuming electrolytes throughout their workout. Some long distance cyclists sometimes even talk about sweating so much that they feel granules of salt on their faces after their rides. Pretty crazy huh? More commonly seen are salt rings which appear white on dark clothing. These are certainly signs that indicate you may want to grab that sports drink. It is unsafe for the body to get too low on salt.
The dangers of improper levels of salt in the body can occur when someone drinks too much water. Although this is rare, the result can be scary and even deadly. Hyponatremia (over consumption of water) results in low concentrations on sodium in the blood. This can cause your cells to swell with water(including brain tissue) and your lungs to fill with fluid.
Some believe that drinking lots of water flushes fat and toxins out and can take this to an extreme by over hydrating. I knew of a lady once who became somewhat obsessed with drinking a lot of water and nearly passed out in the gym because of it, so again remember moderation!
Since dehydration is a lot more common, you should know the signs. After one hour of exercise, it is possible to lose 1 quart of water. That’s a lot! Just a 2% loss of body weight in sweat can make your heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Symptoms of dehydration include cramps, dizziness, fatigue, heart palpitations, dry mouth. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Just remember to keep it simple. Drink water before, during and after your workout in moderation, and reach for those electrolyte drinks only after long and intense sessions.
Stay hydrated for best results in your workouts!