Even though you are a professional athlete or do workout for recreation and staying fit, staying hydrated is essential. Healthy hydration means taking the optimum amount of water. Water helps in regulating body temperature and joints lubrication. It also aids in transporting nutrients that fuel your energy and maintains your health. Dehydration can cause your body not to function at its uppermost level. Low energy, constant headache, and dry throat are common symptoms of dehydration. These are not much fatal but cause inconvenience till you take water and fix it. Narrowing down to workouts, mild to moderate dehydration can hurt your performance in some ways.
Drinking water adequately is essential for both; high performance and health during a workout. So, if you want to extract your best, staying hydrated can surely help you with that. Here’s how you can do it. First, let’s discuss the effects of dehydration on body workout.
Low energy level
To function adequately, the most basic energy form that our muscles require is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When we workout, our bodies engage to transform essential nutrients such as fat, fibers, and carbohydrates into ATP. We are only capable of storing a minimal quantity of ATP in our body cells. Our bodies frequently synthesize more ATP to fuel our physical activities. While working out, the energy that our muscles require increases, so synthesizing ATP rapidly is even more essential. This energy conversion process (Krebs cycle) cannot possibly take place without water. You will experience fatigue if you continue to force it to move without providing adequate energy. That is why staying hydrated while working out is more essential.
Poor cardiovascular health
With low fluid levels, your heart has to work harder for pumping blood. You may feel it (i.e. high heartbeat) that it is supposed to be. An exercise session that does not feel too intense on the heart is healthy. Blood volume – drives whole body pressure, is mainly fluid based. Your body requires more fluids to keep it optimum. With low blood volume, your heart will have to beat faster for circulating the same blood amount throughout the body. That will increase your pulse rate and require more than usual breaks while exercising to regulate itself.
Non-regulated body temperature
While exercising, several parts of our body struggle for fluids. The skin tries to cool down the body and requires fluid for sweating. Muscles need blood to transport essential nutrients, oxygen and eradicate waste products. And the heart requires more blood volume to supply to the whole body. A dehydrated body won’t be able to fulfill these requirements; means your body’s cooling mechanism may not function properly. More intense you exercise in a hotter environment, your body will sweat, at a faster rate.
Eventually, your body will prefer fulfilling cardio requirements, causing you to decrease intensity for not sweating too much. But if you continue to force workout on your body it will end up overheating. Under specific circumstances, you may fall victim to heat-related illness.
Some serious side effects
Mild dehydration leads to symptoms that usually cause discomfort, while severe dehydration is referred to as a medical emergency that may end up in heatstroke, failure of kidney, and seizures when not taken care of properly. Working out in intensely hot environments increases the risk, fortunately drinking water when you feel thirsty is enough for a lot of people to avoid dehydration. If you are facing these symptoms of dehydration and drinking water is not helping your case, you need to see a doctor.
Now let us move on to some important points that you must keep in mind while body workout.
How much water should you drink while exercising?
For reaching the best results of your workout you need to be equipped with all the essential requirements i.e. body stamina, nutrients, workout kit. There are no thumb rules for the amount of water you should drink while working out because everyone’s body needs, threshold, and endurance are different. But you should consider factors that include your sweat rate, amount of heat and humidity in the surrounding, and how much time you have been exercising.
Following are some basic guidelines for taking pre, post, and water during workout:
- 2 to 3 hours before starting your workout drink between 17 to 20 ounces of water
- Before 20-30 minutes before starting exercise or warm-up drink 8 ounces of water
- For every 10 to 20 minutes during workout drink 7 to 10 ounces of water
- Drink 8 to 10 ounces of water 30 mins after working out
What about sports drinks?
For the majority of people, water is all they require for staying hydrated. But if you are exercising regularly at a higher intensity for more than 30 minutes, a sports drink can be helpful. All the calories, vitamins, potassium, and other essential nutrients in sports drinks can offer energy that helps you perform for a long interval of time. Make sure you choose your sports drink wisely.
They are usually high-calorie drinks with added sugar and higher levels of sodium. Make sure you check the serving size: one bottle contains more than one serving.
If you drink an entire bottle at a time, you may intake the double or triple nutrients on the label.
How much water is enough?
Consuming the right amount of water entirely depends on your body’s need and the type of physical av activity you are doing. You might need to consult your physician for that. Yes, it is possible to get overly hydrated but it is very rare regarding everyday exercise. The medical condition that leads to overhydration is called hyponatremia. At this condition, your blood becomes too diluted while dropping essential levels of sodium in your blood.
Mild hyponatremia may go unnoticed but severe symptoms resemble those of dehydration and can be fatal if not treated properly. Endurance athletes usually suffer from this condition.
When to see a doctor?
Consult a doctor immediately in case of severe symptoms of dehydration, heat stroke, or heat sickness. Also, see a doctor if you notice symptoms of hyponatremia. Both conditions need to be taken seriously if they are at an extreme.