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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, should this amount be doubled when working out?

Dehydration is a workout enthusiast’s dreadful enemy. A person’s performance during sports or when working out decreases even with just a hint of dehydration. Amanda Carlson, a trainer, said that just losing two percent of one’s body weight in fluid can decrease 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. 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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It is highly recommended to take a sip of seven to ten ounces of fluid every ten to twenty minutes of exercise 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 facilitate in heartbeat regulation and in allowing muscles to contract 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 regulates heart contractions, helps keep blood pressure levels stable, and facilitate muscle functions.

Magnesium is the electrolyte needed for muscle contractions, proper heart rhytms, nerve functioning, bone building and strength, lessening anxiety, digestion, and in keeping a stable protein-fliud 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.

Hypoatremia can lead to nausea, headaches, confusion, and fatigue. 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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Drink two eight ounce cups of water two hours before starting your working. 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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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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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.