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Hydration During Workouts: The Importance

We’ve all heard it before: a person should be able to consume eight glasses of water every day. However, should this amount be doubled when working out?

A common enemy of sports enthusiasts is dehydration. One’s ability to perform when doing sports or during a workout can decline with even just a hint of dehydration. According to Amanda Carlson, a trainer, the loss of just two percent of one’s body weight in fluid can lessen performance by as much as twenty five percent.

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Hydration during workout is important not just for professional athletes but for individuals who want to get the most out of their exercise. Working out means losing water and not replenishing that amount can lead to feelings of dizziness, lethargy, and cramps.

Water makes the body function much better and smoother. Drinking enough water can help minimize the need for the heart to work hard in pumping blood to the body because oxygen and nutrients can be sent more efficiently to the muscles used during workouts.

One problem, though, is that even experienced athletes have difficulty in drinking enough water. It is important to take note that hydration should not just be during workouts but before and after it as well.

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Taking a sip of seven to ten ounces of fluid every ten to twenty minutes of exercise is highly recommended to prevent dehydration. Individuals who have longer workouts than an hour each day or those who have an intense workout regimen would need to replenish their electrolytes too.

Electrolytes are nutrients or chemicals in the body that affect major functions such as heartbeat regulation and muscle contraction for ease of movement. Major electrolytes found in the body are calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride.

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Calcium helps with muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting, cell division, and in the formation of bones and teeth. Potassium helps keep blood pressure levels stable, regulate heart contractions as well as with muscle functions.

Magnesium is necessary for muscle contractions, proper heart rhythms, nerve functioning, bone building and strength, decreasing anxiety, digestion, and in keeping a stable protein-fluid balance. Chloride helps maintain fluid balance as well as sodium, which is also needed for muscle contractions and nerve signaling.

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During workouts, the loss of electrolytes in the body can be replenished with the intake of a sports drink or electrolyte enhanced water. It is also important to take note that overhydration can lead to hypoatremia, which happens when extra water in the body dilutes the sodium content in the blood.

Nausea, headaches, confusion, and fatigue are some of the symptoms of hypoatremia. In extreme cases, it can even result to comatose and death.

For those who prefer sports drinks, you should check the label and assess whether a particular drink can give your body the amount of electrolytes it needs during workout. The ideal amount is fourteen grams of carbohydrates, which should come from glucose, sucrose, and/or fructose, twenty eight milligrams of potassium, and one hundred milligrams of sodium per eight ounce serving.

One day before working out, one should drink extra water and check the color of one’s urine. Ideally, it should be pale yellow since it means that one is properly hydrated.

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On the day of your exercise, you should drink two eight ounce cups of water two hours beforehand. This would give your kidneys enough time to process your liquid intake and give you enough time to empty your bladder before working out.

Thirty minutes before actually starting your regimen, drink another five to ten ounces of water. An ounce of fluid is equal to a medium mouthful of water.

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Check your weight before and after exercise to know how much water you should take during your workout. Ideally, for every pound lost during activity, one should drink an additional sixteen ounce of fluid.

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Once you have finished your workout, check how many pounds you lost and drink another twenty four ounce of fluid. In case you actually gained weight, you may have overhydrated and should remember to drink less water in the future.