Exercise and Hydration: My Instructions
Hydration is a vital part of your health routine, and it’s even more important when you’re exercising. How can I stay well hydrated, before, during and after sport, and which drinks should I choose? The #ProFormTeam advises me on how to stay hydrated and healthy on a daily basis and during training.
Why is Hydration Important?
To understand the importance of hydration and its link to physical activity, I recall some key figures:
- My body is 50-60% water.
- I need to take in about 2.5 litres of water every day, of which at least 1 to 1.5 litres should be in liquid form.
- When I am physically active, I can lose up to 1 litre of water per hour.
- I feel the effects of dehydration as soon as I lose 2% of water: heat, dry mouth, intense thirst, etc. More specifically, if my body is not sufficiently hydrated when I train, I increase the risk of tendonitis, muscle contractions, tears and cramps.
- A drop in hydration of just 1% can affect my sports performance by up to 10%!
How Do I Hydrate?
To stay well hydrated, I take a bottle or a water bottle with an unsweetened drink with me. I drink in small sips, preferably water left at room temperature, 8 to 15°C, very frequently during the day. I keep in mind that when I am thirsty, my body is already short of water. I can opt for tea, herbal teas or homemade sugar-free drinks with cold-brewed hibiscus flowers, citrus peel, ginger, etc.
When I plan a training session, I can increase my water intake a little in the hours beforehand. If I’m running for a long time, more than an hour, for example, I can sweeten my drink very slightly to provide my body with a few carbohydrates continuously and enable it to sustain an effort over time. For instance, in a marathon, athletes often consume energy drinks enriched with carbohydrates, sodium and vitamins, to compensate for losses due to sweat and muscular effort. These drinks should be chosen and tested before the event to know their effects and to use them properly.
There are also drinks specially designed to aid muscle recovery that are enriched with carbohydrates, minerals and other nutrients. Except for intense activity, I don’t need them during my weekly training sessions. A balanced diet and rest help me to recover well.
My Hydration Habits: Before, During and After Physical Activity
How can I adapt my hydration before, during and after physical activity? The #ProFormTeam gives me more specific advice on how to develop good habits!
I Hydrate Before Exercise
I drink water more frequently in the two hours before my session to prepare my body for the effort. If I’m training for a competition, I increase my water intake a few days beforehand to stimulate glycogen production, the fuel of the muscles, and be in top form on the day.
I Hydrate During Exercise
Throughout the session, I compensate for my body’s loss of fluids by sweating: this is my body’s way of regulating its temperature, as physical activity produces heat. Concentrating on my movements, I don’t always perceive the sensation of thirst well, so I anticipate it and take sips of water as a reflex to adopt, between two sets of exercises, for example. The right amount? 150 to 200 ml of water every 15 minutes. In hot weather, when exercising outdoors, I become even more vigilant because dehydration occurs more quickly: I cover my head to limit water loss and, if I run out of water, I slow down my pace.
I Hydrate After Exercise
After my session, I quickly start to rehydrate. Drinking water helps my body evacuate the muscles’ metabolic waste and replenish my glycogen stores, depleted during the effort. Getting enough water is also the best way to help rebuild muscle fibres and avoid cramps and soreness.