The Importance of Hydration

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The Importance of Hydration: Before, During, and After Exercise

Hydration is often overlooked but plays a fundamental role in our overall well-being and athletic performance.  In this post ill discuss why staying hydrated before, during, and after exercise is so important for success.

1. Before Exercise: 

Proper hydration before a workout is just as important as hydration during.  When you’re adequately hydrated, your body can maintain normal temperature regulation, lubricate your joints, and transport nutrients more efficiently to your muscles. Dehydration, on the other hand, can lead to decreased energy levels, early fatigue, and impaired cognitive function, all of which can hinder your performance.

To ensure you’re adequately hydrated before exercise, aim to drink about 500ml of water 2-3 hours before your workout. This gives your body enough time to absorb and distribute the fluids, helping you start your session feeling refreshed and ready to go.

2. During Exercise: 

During exercise, your body loses fluids through sweat to regulate temperature and keep you cool. If these fluids aren’t replenished, you risk becoming dehydrated, which can lead to decreased endurance, muscle cramps, and an increased heart rate.  Proper hydration during exercise is essential to train at your best and prevent these negative effects.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking about 250ml of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise, especially in intense or prolonged workouts. For activities lasting longer than 60 minutes or in hot and humid conditions, consider using a sports drink containing electrolytes to replace lost sodium and potassium.

3. After Exercise: 

Once your workout is complete, rehydrating your body is crucial for the recovery process. During exercise, you lose not only water but also electrolytes such as sodium and potassium through sweat. Replenishing these fluids and electrolytes post-exercise helps restore hydration levels, supports muscle recovery, and reduces the risk of post-workout fatigue and cramping.

Within 30 minutes of completing your workout, aim to drink at least 500ml of water or add a hydration sachet to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost during exercise. Continue to hydrate throughout the day to ensure your body fully recovers and stays hydrated for your next workout.

There are many electrolytes on the market and some are high in sugar, so make sure you read the back of the packet before.  I like to use pure sports electrolyte powder.

Tips for Staying Hydrated:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day as a reminder to drink water regularly.
  • Monitor your urine colour; pale yellow to clear indicates proper hydration.
  • Incorporate hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, as they can contribute to dehydration.

In conclusion, hydration plays a vital role in our overall health and athletic performance. By prioritising hydration before, during, and after exercise, you can optimise your workouts, improve your endurance, and progress towards your fitness goals. Remember, the key to success is not just in the sweat you shed but also in the fluids you replenish!