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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?

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. 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 imperative not just for athletes but for everyone to get the most out of their exercise regimen. 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 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. For those who work out for longer than an hour a day or for those who are taking on a particularly intense workout regimen, electrolytes may need to be replenished 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 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. Sodium helps maintain fluid balance and is needed for muscle contractions as well as nerve signaling while Chloride also helps with fluid balance.

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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 take note that overhydration can lead to hypoatremia, which happens when extra water in the body dilutes the sodium content in the blood.

Nausea, headaches, confusion, and fatigue are some of the symptoms of hypoatremia. In extreme cases, it can even result to comatose 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. The ideal color is pale yellow, which means that you are 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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Check your weight before and after exercise to know how much water you should take during your workout. It is ideal to drink an additional sixteen ounce of fluid for every pound lost during activity.

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Once you have finished your workout, 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.