According to the Natural Hydration Council, only about 16% of Brits are drinking enough water each day, resulting in a nation of rather fatigued people. Water performs crucial roles within the body, such as carrying nutrients and regulating body temperature. Any personal trainer will reiterate the importance of keeping hydrated and will no doubt ensure that you are drinking enough, providing that extra boost and motivation you may need.
Hydration should be an important practice everyday but during training and work out sessions, it is even more crucial. Whether you are a pro athlete, a regular gym bunny or have had a more recent desire to lose weight and increase fitness levels, ensuring that you keep hydrated is imperative for your health, safety and well being.
Hydration before, during and after exercise
The body is made up of over 60% water, so it is worth remembering that the more you give it, the better it is going to perform. Working out takes an element of planning and organization, from warming up to choosing which muscles you intend to target and the most efficient exercise for the purpose. Considering your hydration should also be a key point, ensuring that you are suitably hydrated prior to the work out, throughout the training and post exercise. Water helps fuel your muscles as well as boost energy and help in preventing cramp.
Drinking plenty of water before working out will help to ensure that your core body temperature doesn’t rise too fast. It can also help you get the most out of the session and feel good whilst doing it. During training, the trick is remembering to drink little and often instead of a lot not very often. The body can lose up to a litre of water an hour while exercising, mainly through sweating and breathing, so remembering to keep topped up is vital for the best chance of achieving exercise targets.
After a workout, re-hydrating is necessary for restoring fluid levels and will also contribute to muscle recovery.
What to drink and what to avoid
Water is the ultimate hydrator, with the golden number recommended by the European Food Safety Authority being two litres a day for men and a little over one and a half for women. Water is fat free and calorie free and the body is able to easily absorb it. However, isotonic drinks might be a better option for those who work out for periods longer than an hour.
Isotonic sports drinks are good for providing a quick energy source. They do not hydrate you as quickly as water does but are ideal after doing high levels of exercise to quickly replace muscle glycogen stores.
Drinks to avoid in general but certainly during and form of training or exercise are carbonated soft drinks. Drinks such as these contain empty calories and are acidic, causing damage to your teeth and elsewhere if drunk regularly.
Keeping hydrated is important for just about every bodily function. Being dehydrated can greatly affect your health, causing problems to both your physical and mental well being and having an impact of how well you are able to exercise. Making time to drink a little regularly will help to top lost fluids back up and keep you feeling hydrated, healthy and happy.