Now that summer is here, it is even more important to stay hydrated. This is especially true when it comes to working out. At least two quarts of water a day are recommended for the average person. and even more may be needed to keep you from getting dehydrated depending on your size and fitness level, temperature, and humidity.
When you exercise, your body sweats to keep you from overheating, but if the salts, fluids and electrolytes are not replaced, the body cannot cool itself. This can lead to cramps, dehydration or heat exhaustion. If this happens, your symptoms may include cool, moist skin, a fast but weak pulse, and quick, shallow breathing. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical care.
When you are working out, don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. According to experts, you should drink about 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes when you exercise for less than an hour. Consider drinking a sports drink if your workout lasts longer. Sports drinks are designed to not only keep you hydrated but to help you maintain your blood’s electrolyte balance and give your working muscles fuel. The Journal of Physiology has found that high-carb sports drinks might even make your workout better.
Athletes performed better on stationary bikes after they rinsed with a high-carb drink than they did after they drank saccharin-flavored water according to researchers at the University of Birmingham in England. Carbohydrates in the sport drinks are believed to be what made the difference. These carbohydrates make contact with the receptors in the mouth, which may send signals to the brain to improve exercise performance.
The researchers were able to identify the regions of the brain that the sports drinks activated by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The scans indicate that the drinks trigger areas that help control pleasure and motor control. Our brain sees this exercise as less intense, so we can work harder. Artificially sweetened drinks not have the same positive effect.
Try different sport drinks to find the best one for you. Some people use water to weaken the taste or decrease the carbohydrate intake, which will help reduce calories. Remember to hydrate before, during and after your workout.