It's no secret that hydration is a crucial part of every day living and even more so during exercise. As the body's temperature rises sweat is produced in order to cool the skin and body. Replacing fluid lost is crucial in maintaining hydration levels, whether it is lost in the form of sweat while working out in the studio, sitting in the sun or during every day life in the form of urination. Keeping your body hydrated helps the heart to pump blood through the blood vessels and to the muscles which is even more crucial during exercise.
Urine colour is a good indicator of hydration levels, ideally urine should be colourless. Factors which may indicate dehydration include; bright yellow urine, muscle cramps, dry mouth, headaches, hunger or fatigue. It is not uncommon to reach for some ineffective remedies such as pain relief medication, food or beverages which are highly processed or high in sugar, however these remedies will only increase the level of dehydration, whereas eliminating these symptoms can be as simple of reaching for a glass of water instead.
These symptoms may also be experienced the day after a few too many alcoholic drinks have been consumed - or in other words symptoms of a hangover. A hangover is as simple as dehydration. Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body which means it causes an increased amount of urination, as previously noted, if that fluid is not replaced dehydration will occur. The more alcohol consumed = increased urination = increased levels of dehydration causing a hangover. Although it seems crazy to drink more fluid while you're constantly nipping off to the bathroom, water regularly consumed in addition to alcohol is going to aid in keeping your body hydrated.
If you're struggling to consume enough water throughout the day, tea and coffee are also going to increase your hydration levels, along with water based fruits and vegetables that could be used to snack on such as watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce.
For the majority of people, water is adequate to remain hydrated, however during prolonged amounts of exercise or high intensity bouts consuming a sports drink is sensible. It is recommended that sports drinks are used for endurance exercise longer than 60 minutes, this is due to the electrolytes lost in the sweat which are not replaced by water alone. Sports drinks also contain a high level of carbohydrates which aid in performance for endurance exercise due to the muscles using the carbohydrates as fuel immediately,
Tips for maintaining hydration and eliminating dehydration:
- Ensure water is consumed regularly throughout the day and even more so if exercise or alcohol is involved.
- If symptoms such as headaches, hunger, fatigue, dry mouth or muscle cramps are experienced, have a glass of water, wait a few minutes and see if it helps before turning to pain medication.
- Keep a bottle of water at your desk every day to remind you to sip throughout - the day
- Water is adequate for exercise 60 minutes or less, however endurance athletes should consider using sports drinks. Be aware of the sugar content!
So go on….Keep Hydrated!!!
Vision Personal Trainer Takapuna*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.