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How to Hydrate Before, During, and After a Workout



Proper hydration is vital to your athletic performance and health. To perform your best, learn how to drink enough before, during and after your workouts.


Pre-Workout Hydration

Before a long run, a race, or a training workout, drink plenty of fluids. The day before an event, drink extra water, 100 percent juice and/or other nutrient-rich fluids such as nonfat or 1 percent milk. Monitor the color of your urine. The goal is pale yellow, not clear.


The morning of the event, drink 2 cups (8 oz.) of fluid two hours beforehand. This gives your kidneys enough time to process the liquids, giving you sufficient time to empty your bladder before the start of your event.


Thirty minutes prior to the beginning of the athletic event, drink another 5 to 10 oz. of water or sports drink. One oz. of fluid equals about a medium mouthful of water.


During Workout Hydration

Every athlete has unique hydration needs. By weighing yourself before and after exercise, you can estimate the volume of fluid your body requires to remain hydrated during exercise.


For each pound lost during activity, drink an additional 16 oz. of fluid. For example, if you drank 8 oz. while exercising for 60 minutes and lost one pound, your goal is to drink an additional 16 oz. during your next workout.


So, you would need to drink a total of 24 oz. to ensure proper hydration. This would equate to 6 oz. of fluid every 15 minutes.


o help you determine the amount of fluid you lose during exercise, you can weigh yourself before and after exercise. For each pound lost during activity, drink 24 oz. of fluid. If your body weight increased, you have overhydrated and you should drink less fluid in future exercise sessions.


After a practice or competition, drink to quench your thirst and then drink some more. Because the thirst mechanism is an inaccurate indicator of dehydration, you'll have to monitor your urine to determine whether or not you've had enough.


if your urine is darker than pale yellow, or you have not urinated a few hours after exercise, you are still dehydrated and need to continue to drink. Depending on the intensity and duration of your workout as well as the weather (warm and humid vs. cool and dry), you may be better able to tolerate fluids sooner than your recovery meal or snack.


Choose your fluid wisely. Enjoy 100 percent fruit juice, diluted fruit juice, non-fat or 1 percent milk, or soy milk. These nutrient-rich beverages provide not only fluid, but carbohydrates and electrolytes as well.


Milk is an excellent recovery drink because it not only provides carbohydrates, but contains the electrolytes sodium and potassium which are lost in sweat. The quantities contained in milk are much greater than that contained in sports drinks. Additionally, milk also contains calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for strong bones, as well as protein, which is important for muscle recovery.


Can I Drink Too Much?

Maintain a comfortably full stomach during physical activity. If your stomach is sloshing, stop drinking. To prevent hyperhydration when exercising for more than two hours or in the heat for more than one hour, drink a beverage that contains sodium such as a sports drink.


Sodium leads to greater fluid retention, facilitates thirst, and helps to maintain proper electrolyte status, which is essential for optimal sports performance.


To make your own sports drink, combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice and add 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and enjoy. Some athletes will need to double or triple this recipe in order to meet their hydration needs during prolonged exercise.


Follow these guidelines to ensure that you are adequately hydrated before, during and after your workouts. Proper hydration will enable you to perform and feel your best. Selecting nutrient-rich drinks will enable you to reach your full athletic potential.


By Katie Jeffrey For Active.com

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