Just Add Water
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When it comes to exercise, hydration is a critical component. Water aids in regulating body temperature and blood pressure during and after physical activity, flushing toxins from the body, lubricating the joints and helping muscles contract properly. Hydration heavily affects the quality of your workouts by increasing mental focus and endurance as well.
Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Christian Mazur emphasizes the importance of staying hydrated from a fitness standpoint and shares practical tips to staying hydrated throughout the day.
How Much Is Enough?
Being inadequately hydrated can drastically affect the body and its ability to perform not only exercise but basic functions as well. Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Change in mood
- Darker urine
- Increased heart rate, flutters or palpitations
Approximately 80 percent of an individual’s total water intake comes from drinking water and beverages with the other 20 percent derived from food consumption. “The amount of water an individual needs can vary based on age, body size and metabolism,” says Mazur. He goes on to explain how various external factors can also require one to drink more water in order to stay hydrated such as:
- Higher intensity activity
- Higher outside temperature
- Higher altitude
- Consuming diets high in protein, fiber and sodium
- Prescription medications
Research shows adults should consume at least half their body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your recommended water intake is approximately 100 ounces per day (or 12.5 cups).
Hydration and Workouts
Even a slight drop in hydration (one to two percent level of dehydration) affects performance and energy. Dehydration can affect your workout performance, on-the-job performance and your energy level throughout the day. The thirst response is a signal your body needs water. However, by the time you are thirsty, you are more than likely already dehydrated. This is why it’s important to remember not to wait until you are thirsty to drink water. For optimum hydration, know how much water your body needs and commit to consuming water throughout the day, even when you are not thirsty.
General Guidelines for Water Consumption: Before, During and After Exercise
- 2-3 hours before workout: 15-20 ounces
- 15 minutes before workout: 8-10 ounces
- Every 15 minutes during workout: 8 ounces
- Within 30 minutes of completing workout: 8 ounces
Hydration is a key part to exercise recovery. The goal is to replace the fluids lost during the workout. The amount of water needed for optimal recovery may vary based on your body’s specific needs.
Hydration Made Simple
Ensuring you drink an adequate amount of water throughout a busy day may be a challenge to some. Knowing how much water your body needs and setting a goal for yourself is the first step to making hydration practical. “It’s easier to chip away at your total water intake goal by drinking small amounts throughout the day,” explains Mazur. “I try to start my day drinking 16 ounces of water before I leave my house in the morning and 16 ounces when I return home in the evening. I always carry a water bottle with me to sip on throughout my day as well.”
For those who need help staying on track, Mazur suggests refilling a water container with a specific volume throughout the day and setting alarms to remind yourself to drink water. Or try using a water consumption tracking app on your smartphone.
For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.