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Are you Properly Hydrating?

Are you Properly Hydrating?

There are many key factors to take into account to ensure you are properly hydrating. Proper hydration can vary depending on the type of exercise, weather conditions, your individual body. Hydration is one of the most important factors when optimizing your overall performance and maintaining good health.

Hydrating for Performance

You should begin all workouts in a well-hydrated state and maintain hydration throughout your workout or competition.  By maintaining your hydration you can maximize performance, improve your ability to recover and minimize injury.  If you begin an event in a dehydrated state or become dehydrated while exercising you can have an increased rate of physical and mental fatigue.  As little as 2 to 3 percent decrease in body weight from water (sweat) loss can cause a decrease in performance.  Other consequences of dehydration include increased core temperature and heart rate, decreased blood pressure, nausea, headaches and muscle cramping.

Fluid Intake Recommendations

Prior to exercise you should consume approximately 16 ounces of fluid 2-3 hours before and 8 ounces 15 minutes before.  During exercise it is recommended to consume 4 ounces of fluid every 15 – 20 minutes.  Post activity 16-20 ounces of fluid should be consumed for every pound of sweat lost.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are designed to re-hydrate, provide energy and replenish the body’s electrolytes.  They also contain carbohydrates, the body’s main source of energy.  During prolonged exercise it is important to replace fluid lost in sweat.  Athlete’s that will benefit most from  a sports drink are those that exercise longer than 60 minutes and are heavy sweaters.

Hydrating Tips         

  • Monitor your urine color. A clear pale yellow indicates you are well hydrated.
  • Fruits and vegetables are mostly water and can aide in maintaining hydration.
  • If you are a heavy sweater, eat salty foods before activity and replace sweat loss with a sports drink after.
  • Carry a water bottle with you so you can drink water throughout the day and optimize your hydration
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