The Importance of Staying Hydrated During Exercise
Maintaining adequate hydration by ensuring you drink enough water during exercise is essential. The intake of fluids greatly influences performance, safety, and comfort during physical activities.
The amount of water each person needs during exercise can vary. This depends on multiple factors, such as age, gender, weight, health condition, and the type of exercise being done.
Why Hydration is Essential During Exercise
While exercising, your body loses fluid through sweat. If this is not compensated with enough water intake, you can become dehydrated.
Losing just 2% of body fluid already hampers our physical performance. Moreover, exercising in a dehydrated state can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, palpitations, increased body temperature, and concentration difficulties.
On the other hand, a well-hydrated body before, during, and after exercise can support both physical and mental conditions. With sufficient fluid intake, the performance of various systems in the body, such as temperature regulation, blood circulation, muscle function, and even mood, will be optimized.
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Thus, one can exercise effectively and achieve maximum results.
How Much Water to Consume During Exercise
Although everyone’s fluid needs can vary, there are general guidelines about the amount of water to consume before, during, and after exercise:
Recommended fluid intake before exercising:
500-600mL (2-3 glasses): 4 hours prior
250-350mL (1-2 glasses): 10-15 minutes prior
During exercise, it’s suggested to drink 100-250mL (1/2–1 glass) every 15-20 minutes.
If you sweat profusely or exercise outdoors in hot weather, you may need to drink more than the recommended amount.
It’s advisable to weigh yourself before and after exercising to calculate the water consumption needed to replace the lost fluid, not fat.
For every 0.5 kg lost after exercising, replace it by drinking 3 glasses (600–700 ml) of water.
How to Hydrate During Exercise
Apart from plain water, fluid requirements can be met by consuming various drinks such as milk, tea, coffee, or soda. However, these beverages are not recommended in excess due to their high-calorie and sugar content.
Furthermore, tea, coffee, and energy drinks usually contain caffeine, which has a diuretic effect. This can make you urinate more frequently. If not balanced with sufficient plain water intake, this can risk dehydration.
Therefore, when exercising, it’s best to drink mineral water, as it hydrates without adding calories or sugar. Additionally, mineral water can replace lost electrolytes during sweating.
However, it’s vital to choose safe-to-consume mineral water by considering the following criteria:
- It should be tasteless, colorless, odorless, and not contaminated with harmful substances.
- The water source should be protected, ensuring the water is free from contamination and maintains its quality.
- The mineral content should be retained.
- The process should adhere to health standards, undergoing rigorous quality checks and certification.
- To ensure your fluid intake is adequate, check the color of your urine. If it’s clear or pale yellow, it means you’re well-hydrated.
On the contrary, if your urine is dark yellow, it can be a sign of dehydration. Beware of severe dehydration symptoms like dizziness, weakness, extreme thirst, and organ system disturbances, as they require immediate medical attention.
If you experience severe dehydration symptoms, seek medical attention promptly. Also, consult a doctor if you have questions about how to meet your fluid intake during exercise or determine the appropriate water amount based on your needs and conditions.