How Much Water Should You Drink When You Exercise?
The Personal Trainers (PT) we work with tell us, one of the first questions they ask their clients before a one on one session is "How much water have you consumed today?".
Another common question is "How are you feeling today?" Some might say they had a headache during the day or felt tired and had no energy. The reply is always, you guessed it, "How much water have you had to drink?" On most occasions, the response is either not enough or hardly any at all! From this, the PT has an indication of how well they will likely perform during their session.
During times of high intensity exercise or other strenuous activities, your body needs plenty of good quality electrolyte-rich water. This is because your body sweats out important electrolytes and minerals (such as potassium and sodium) through intense activity and you must replenish them.
Once your body has lost between 1 to 2 percent of its total water content, it will signal its needs by making you feel thirsty. Using thirst as a guide as to how much water you need to drink is a good way to ensure your individual needs are met every day. (Be careful however because if you have been consistently dehydrated you actually lose your thirst mechanism and you start to think you are either hungry or feel the need for a sugary treat or a caffeine fix!)
Unfortunately, by the time your thirst mechanism kicks in you may already be a bit dehydrated. Most studies indicate about two-thirds of us are dehydrated on a regular basis and need to drink more water.
Signs your body sends to let you know it needs more water include:
|Dark, concentrated urine or infrequent urination||Disorientation, fatigue or mood swings|
|Headache||Hunger even though you've recently eaten, caffeine cravings, sugar craving|
|Lack of sweating during exercise||
|Mouth, eyes or skin is dry and dull||Muscle cramps or spasms|
Drinking Water Before and After Exercise Is Vital
Our bodies are 75% water, our brains even more. Water is essential for every single bodily function that we have, regardless of activity level. If you are an athlete or exercise regularly, it is imperative you get your fluid-replacement right to avoid the possibility of becoming dehydrated.
So how much water should you drink when you exercise?
Water is your body’s foundation nutrient and while there is no hard and fast rule that everyone agrees on as to how much water you should consume, as a general rule, ‘drink to thirst’. Consider your personal circumstances and different variables involved such as age, height, weight, gender, exercise intensity, climate (temperature - hot and humid conditions increase sweat rates and wind which will cool the body and reduce sweat rates), duration of exercise & having a higher BMI. So hydration is acutely individualised due to these variations.
As a general rule, drink 1 litre of water per 25kg of body weight. If it is extremely hot or you are exerting yourself more than normal (such as exercise) you may need to drink more.
A great way to gauge your water needs is to observe the colour of your urine and how frequently you urinate. The colour of your urine should be a light, pale yellow. (If you take vitamin B supplements your urine will be bright yellow, which is normal.)
On average, a healthy number of bathroom visits is around 7 or 8 per day!
While severe dehydration can be life threatening, even mild dehydration is problematic — causing cramping, headaches, irritability and impaired cognition. Lack of adequate hydration will most definitely affect your sports performance and diminish the effectiveness of your workouts.
A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger:
- trouble with basic math
- difficulty focusing, fatigue and yawning
- erratic and moody behaviour
- constipation, cramps
- aches & pains unrelated to injury/infection
- craving sugar, sweets and caffeine
A lack of proper hydration during exercise diminishes blood circulation, which can make muscles cramp up and may result in light headedness. If you've ever had them during exercise, muscle cramps can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Keep in mind that changes in your potassium and sodium levels due to sweat loss may also contribute to cramping.
Should I drink a sports drink before my workout?
Although you may be tempted to drink sports drinks before your workout to boost your energy, or afterward to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes, you're better off skipping them due to the sugar content and other harmful ingredients (colouring) they contain.
Did you know: zazen Water has more electrolytes than sports drinks!
For Optimal Health, you need sufficient amounts of High Quality, Electrolyte-Rich (Alkaline Mineral) Water
The right quality and quantity of water is essential to optimum health and wellbeing. zazen Alkaline Water has a balanced range of natural minerals and salts which are critical for hydration. For water to act as a nutrient in your body and increase your wellbeing, energy and vitality, it must be:
- filtered (cleaned of toxins, bad bacteria and chemicals),
- mineral and electrolyte rich
- mildly alkaline
- naturally energised;and
- have smaller water clusters for cellular hydration
zazen Alkaline Water is designed for Peak Cellular Hydration, allowing for proper absorption into your cells (you will not get that bloated feeling!) The amount of water you need daily however, is something you must fine-tune based on your individual needs and circumstances.
Remember to listen to your body. Thirst is an obvious signal it's time to replenish your fluids. Fatigue and moodiness can also indicate that you need to drink more water.
Peak Cellular Hydration will provide increased energy and vitality and can support a whole health strategy for a longer, healthier life.