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Hydration During Workouts: The Importance

It’s common knowledge that a person should drink about eight glasses of water each day. However, when working out, should an individual’s intake of water be double the amount?

A common enemy of sports enthusiasts is dehydration. A person’s performance during sports or when working out decreases even with 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. Exercising can lead to the loss of water and not replenishing that can result to feelings of dizziness, lethargy, and cramps.

Water makes the body function much better and smoother. Hydrating properly can help lessen the need for the heart to work double time in pumping blood to the body because oxygen and other nutrients can be sent more effectively to the muscles used during exercising.

One issue, though, is that even professional athletes find it hard to drink enough water. It is important to know 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 is responsible for muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting, cell division, as well as 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 be cautious of overhydration which can lead to hypoatremia a condition characterized by excess water in the body that dilutes the sodium content in the blood.

Nausea, headaches, confusion, and fatigue are some of the symptoms of hypoatremia. In severe cases, it can even lead to coma and death.

If you prefer sports drink, check the label to see whether it can provide enough electrolytes for your body during workout. The best 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 provide your kidneys with enough time to digest the fluid and give you time to empty your bladder before starting your exercise.

Before starting your workout, drink another five to ten ounces of water. An ounce of fluid is equal to a medium mouthful of water.

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Weigh yourself before and after exercise to determine exactly how much water you should be taking during your workout. It is ideal to drink an additional sixteen ounce of fluid for every pound lost during activity.

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After working out, you should 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.