Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a neophyte in the gym, you need water to keep your body hydrated during exercise. Rehydrating can help avoid getting muscle cramp during exercise. Your core temperature rises when you are working out and this is why you sweat.
The amount of water you lose through perspiration depends on the temperature of the environment, your physical fitness level, and your genes. Not everyone sweats the same way.
Beginners may sweat a lot but as your body gets accustomed to the stress of working out, the amount of water that you lose will be reduced.
So, the big question is, how much water should you drink before, during, and after exercise?
Here are some points to remember.
1. Drink water before you start your exercise.
It is important to be fully hydrated before you start your workout. How would you know that you have enough water in your body? One way of knowing about this is by checking the colour of your urine.
If the colour is amber or like straw, then it means that you lack water. To be hydrated, you need to drink 500 to 600 ml of water two to three hours before you start to exercise.
During the warm-up, which is 20 to 30 minutes before the actual workout, you need to drink another 8 ounces to make sure that you will have great exercise.
However, the amount of water that one needs to drink will also vary depending on one’s personal preference. Some people might drink more than the recommended amount while other would drink less. Just drink when you feel thirsty because it is your body asking you to drink.
2. Take a drink while you exercise
Even if you have drank half a litre of water before you start exercising, you still have to replenish water that was lost while you are working out.
This means that you have to stop once in a while to take a sip. It is recommended that you drink 200 to 300 ml of water every 10 to 20 minutes during your exercise. Always have a drinking bottle with you while hitting the gym.
Choose a drinking bottle that is easy to open so that doing so will not interrupt your routine. Plain cool water is best because it is easily absorbed by the body.
You need to replace the liquid that you are using to maintain your energy in performing your routine. The longer you engage in your workout, the more water you will need as you can feel very thirsty after an hour or more of training. If you exercise for more than one hour, it might be necessary to drink about 500 ml of water.
3. Rehydrate after your exercise.
People who work out for 90 minutes or more will have very little energy left so they need water as well as a sports drink with plenty of electrolytes. It will replace the glycogen that has been giving you the energy to exercise.
Ideally, drink water within 30 minutes after your workout. However, avoid drinking too much without replacing the electrolyte in the body. This can result to hyponatremia, a condition that can result in seizures and failure of the organs, and in worse cases, death.
It is better to drink warm water or water that is just above room temperature. Cool water can result in faster rehydration because it is absorbed by the body right away.
Some people think that drinking ice cold water after exercise is not good. It can shock the internal organs, which are still warm from the workout and might react adversely to something that is very cold.
How much water do you need to drink after your exercise? The technique is to listen to your thirst. If you feel your mouth becoming dry, then it is time to take a sip.
Aside from drinking water, there is another way of reducing the amount of body fluid loss. Wear clothes that are suited to the climate.
Wearing thick clothes in warm weather can cause you to sweat from the heat while it will be alright to wear such clothes during winter. It is important to avoid doing exercise at very high temperature. The best time of the day to work out is early in the morning or at night because the temperature is quite low.