Hello everyone. Today’s article is a guest post from Zoe who writes for Nuffield Health Careers.
Keeping hydrated is a huge priority for athletes of all levels, to ensure your performance and health are at the best they can possibly be. Whether you’re just starting out on a brand new fitness regime, or you’ve been training for a long time, the importance of keeping your body in tip-top, hydrated condition should never be overlooked.
Just How Important Is H2O?
Two thirds of our bodies are made up entirely of water and it is fundamental in regulating our digestive systems, protecting vital organs, lubricating our joints, keeping our body temperature on an even keel and tons more. Water, therefore, is vital for our survival so start glugging now!
Doctors and health specialists recommend for us to drink at least two litres of water daily and more if you’ve ever suffered from any kidney conditions such as kidney stones or infection. Drink even before signs of thirst appear – remember that thirst is the first sign of dehydration.
Fuelling For Exercise
Apart from oxygen, our bodies are always asking us for water during exercise. But how much should you drink, when and in what form? There is no hard-and-fast rule for everyone, as we all have different shapes and sizes, but when exercising, it’s best to stay hydrated before, during and after for the best performance.
A common question that most people ask is whether energy and sports drinks are better than good, old-fashioned h2o. The truth is that most health specialists recommend water to replenish all water lost during exercise, unless you’ll be exercising for longer than 60 minutes, or under extreme conditions, in which case you may need those electrolytes added into various sports drinks to keep you going for longer and to replace the salts you lose during exercise.
Sports drinks do contain calories, so reserve them only for when you need an extra boost. You could even try making your own by mixing 200-250ml of squash with around 800ml of water, and adding a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Most importantly, listen to your own body, and decide for yourself if you need something more than just plain water.
The best way to hydrate to be at your best performance during exercise is to drink two or three cups in the two hours before your workout. Weigh yourself before your workout, too. During exercise, drink little and often. It’s recommended to drink a cup every 15 minutes and after your workout weigh yourself again. Drink 16-24 ounces for every pound you’ve lost for complete hydration.
Signs of Dehydration
Here are some dehydration signs to look out for if you’re concerned about your daily water intake:
• Dark urine with strong odour
• Loss of appetite
• Light headedness
• Numb or shrivelled skin
• Painful urination
• A difficulty to swallow
• A feeling of deliriousness
• Sunken eyes
• Muscle spasms
• Low blood pressure
• Rapid heartbeat
Ongoing dehydration can cause kidney stones or complications, so it’s important to monitor any of these symptoms and rapidly boost your daily water intake.
About the Author:
Today’s guest blogger is Zoe, an avid health blogger and freelance writer from Cheshire in the UK. Currently, she is writing for Nuffield Health Careers. Feel free to tweet your thoughts on this article to @bloggingstyle or @FFT_UK.