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Why is it important to stay hydrated when exercising?

Hydration before, during and after exercise is crucial to performance and to maintaining the proper fluid balance in your body, especially if you sweat during a particularly vigorous workout. Just water will do, unless you exercise for more than an hour. In that case, you can drink a low-calorie electrolyte replacement drink to restore sodium and potassium lost through sweating. Unsweetened iced tea or a beverage lightly flavored with a bit of juice is a good compromise. 

Avoid carbonated drinks, since they can create unpleasant gas and result in stomach cramps. Don’t justify caloric drinks just because you exercised --  you probably don’t need the extra calories unless you are trying to gain weight. If you prefer not to drink during your workout, make sure you finish an 8-to-16-ounce bottle once you wrap up your fitness routine.

Hydration during exercise is vital to your safety.  Below are some reasons for why hydration is so important:

  • It will impact performance.  Being dehydrated may prevent you from being alert and/or performing to a level in which you are able to perform.
  • Hydration helps to keep your body temperature from overheating.  In addition, when you sweat, you are losing water and need to replenish your body with water.
  • Hydration can help keep your muscles loose to prevent from cramping which will decrease performance.

These are only a few of the many reasons for why hydration is so important.  Do you part and stay hydrated.

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
The journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society published important recommendations from a nutrition conference held at the University of Nottingham.

The nutrition conference on hydration and exercise produced these important findings:
  • Dehydration during exercise reduces your performance.
  • Getting dehydrated when it’s also hot can make you feel mentally
           slowed and less alert. This can also negatively affect your
           mood.
  • It’s important to make sure you’re sufficiently hydrated before
           starting to exercise.
  • Add fluids back during exercise by drinking water.
  • When you’re sweating a lot with exercise, drink water with some
           sodium in it to replace lost salts in sweat. This is especially
           important if your exercise session lasts over 2 hours.
  • Drinking cool drinks when you’re exercising in the heat can help
           reduce your body temperature and keep your performance
           better.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.