Making the decision to have an active and fit lifestyle is essential to a healthy and strong body and mind. Not only is it important to understand the different physical activities to engage in for your body, it is essential to prepare yourself for exercise. A key tip to remember when exercising is making sure you are staying hydrated.
When we sweat, our body experiences fluid loss, and it is very important for our body to rehydrate. Drinking water before and during your workout can help prevent your body from dehydrating. Dehydrating can have harmful effects on your body. Below are symptoms of dehydration:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness and Confusion
- Feeling sluggish
- Inability to sweat
Fortunately, there are simple ways to stay hydrated while exercising. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to drink expensive sport drinks. Good old H20 will do just the trick for re-hydrating the body. It is also important to remember that there is no need to chug water while exercising. Instead, try to sip seven to ten ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout.
If you are engaging in a more demanding workout, such as a marathon or triathlon, you may want to drink a sports drink. As we sweat we lose electrolytes, minerals found in the blood that help regulate water in the body. Drinks such as Gatorade and coconut water tend to have electrolyte-enhanced water that can help the body during intense moments. Be careful, however, not to over drink as this can cause hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when the levels of sodium in your blood are abnormally low.
Want to kill two birds with one stone? Start eating more fruit! Fruits have both fluids and electrolytes. Certain fruits, such as bananas and dates, are known for having high levels of electrolyte potassium and are great choices for refueling after an intense exercise. But don’t just rely on fruits to refuel on fluids - make sure to drink water as well! Another great tip to prevent dehydration is to tame thirst. Whenever you feel thirsty, make sure to take a sip or two to prevent feeling totally parched.
Below are a few tests you can take yourself to see if your body is dehydrating:
- The Urine Test: The color of your urine is actually very insightful to how hydrated you are. Very dark yellow is an indicator of dehydration. A light pale yellow shows your body is properly hydrated.
- Weigh Yourself Before and After Exercise: For each pound lost during exercise, drink an additional 16 ounces. If you lose more than 3% however, you may be experiencing dehydration.
- Pinch Yourself: Try pinching the skin on the back of your hand. If the skin takes a long time to return to normal, you are most likely dehydrated.