BENGALURU: We all know that hydration is an important factor when it comes to basic functioning of the body. To add a bit of context, let me quickly explain what is dehydration and then I will list some guidelines for water intake in and around your exercise routine.
What is dehydration?
It’s simply the state when your body loses more fluid than it intakes. This results in an imbalance which disrupts the usual levels of salts and sugars present in the blood, which can interfere with the way the body functions. Dehydration can be potentially harmful as it affects the lubrication of joints, the process of digestion and toxin clearance. When you exercise, the core temperature of the body rises, resulting in sweating and, of course, loss of water.
Which is why it is important to keep yourself hydrated during a workout. Here are some guidelines for fluid replacement (source: American College of Sports Medicine):Before exercise: Drink 5-7 ml/kg of bodyweight about a couple of hours before exercise. (For eg: 350 to 500 ml for 70 kg body weight). Keep in mind: Sodium containing beverages or salted snacks can help retain fluids. This is not necessary to consider unless you are participating in an intense sport like a marathon.
During exercise: Monitor changes in body weight during exercise to estimate weight loss. You can consider a combination of sodium, potassium and carbohydrates during exercise. Keep in mind: The amount and rate of fluid replacement sometimes depends upon individual sweating rate, the environment (hot/cold/humid) and exercise duration.
After exercise: Consumption of normal meals and beverages will restore hydration. In case of excessive sweating, where you might have lost more than two per cent of body weight, drink 1.5 litre/ kg of body weight lost. This is mostly relevant for intense sports in extreme weather conditions. Keep in mind: The goal is to fully restore fluid and electrolyte deficits.
An important thing to note here is that this is only before, during and after workout. It does not factor in the fluid loss that can happen in other activities, for which it’s best to keep sipping some water throughout the day. (The author is a fitness expert with Cure.Fit)
For those who undertake intensive exercising
Recording body weight daily is a great tool to prevent dehydration. For example, if you have lost two kg or so of body water during an intense bout of exercise, this water should be replaced before exercising the subsequent day. If you haven’t been able to do the above, it’s best to avoid exercising or at least limit the intensity. While these are water intake guidelines, it may not be practically possible to weigh yourself right after every exercise bout. If you are someone who definitely doesn’t want to do all of that, here is a simple guideline for water intake during exercise:
The thirst mechanism is not sensitive enough and will not be able to prompt when to drink water irrespective of excessive sweatingKeep sipping water at regular intervals during exercise whether or not you are thirsty Frequent consumption of small amounts of fluid can avoid sweat-related weight loss Rehydration with water is adequate and you don’t need any sports drinks as such, unless you are working out in extreme weather conditions.