We all know that staying hydrated is one of the most fundamental aspects of life, and it’s often recommended that you drink at least 2 litres of fluids per day. However, as you exercise, your body loses more fluids. It’s therefore essential that you replenish your body to avoid dehydration.
Monitoring Your Hydration
Being dehydrated can lead to a plethora of issues, including fatigue, tiredness and dizziness. To avoid any of these problems, it’s a good idea to monitor your hydration.
You might want to aim to drink a certain amount each day, by setting targets throughout the day, but it’s equally as important to pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. If you feel thirsty, make sure you have a drink or if you are sweating a lot, replenish those fluids. Dehydration can also cause similar sensations to feeling hungry, so if you are overcome with these types of feelings, grab some fluid. Another key hydration indicator is the frequency and colour of your urine, the general rule is the clearer, the better! However, there are some exceptions to this rule; drinking alcohol will result in clear urine but this usually indicates that you are losing fluids rather than a sign of good hydration.
Monitoring your hydration levels whilst exercising can be more challenging, as you are likely to be losing more fluids. Drinking water whilst you're exercising is incredibly important, and you should keep on top of your liquid intake whilst working out. However, it’s important to note that it is actually possible to drink too much water. If you aren’t consuming enough electrolytes, you’ll disrupt the balance of fluids in your body which can lead to serious problems. So avoid drinking large volumes of water alone. Don’t forget that other fluids like smoothies, milk, and a cup of coffee also count towards your daily fluid intake.
The Importance of Hydration for Your Body Whilst Exercising
Water and fluids in general play a significant role in every function of your body. Staying hydrated has a huge impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, which is why it’s essential to keep up your intake of fluids whilst you are exercising.
It is essential for your brain to remain hydrated, as water helps to maintain many psychological and physical functions. Staying hydrated can help to balance your hormone levels and help maintain neurogenesis. Hydration also helps to maintain the fluid levels that protect your brain and spinal cord from experiencing injury and trauma. Other essential brain functions which require you to be hydrated include the flushing out of metabolic waste and other toxins that accumulate, as well as the maintaining of healthy blood circulation, which is vital for transporting nutrients and oxygens to the brain.
Keeping hydrated also helps to improve your mental wellbeing, which can have a huge impact during exercise. For your body to manufacture mood-regulating hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, you need to ensure you remain hydrated. Dehydration can also lead to your mood being impaired, which is not ideal for athletic performance.
Hydration is also key to maintaining physical performance, as your muscles can be significantly impacted if they’re dehydrated; causing them to tighten up and ache more easily and your bodies thermal regulation will also be impeded, which can put you at a bigger risk of being injured.
Ways of Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated doesn’t have to just involve drinking glasses full of water, and it’s actually beneficial to consume a variety of fluids.
An ideal drink to have both pre and post workout is coffee. It is often touted that coffee is a diuretic, however, research has shown that this is a myth. Not only does coffee contain similar hydrating qualities to water, but it also contains caffeine and polyphenols. Amunra coffee contains the optimal amount of caffeine (approx. 180mg) and polyphenols (approx. 160mg) to help improve athletic performance and aid your recovery. Caffeine can give you a much-needed energy boost to help improve performance, whilst polyphenols can help combat inflammation and reduce onset muscle soreness.
Isotonic drinks can also help keep you hydrated whilst also providing your body with necessary electrolytes which can give you more energy. Isotonic drinks are often consumed during exercise due to the combination of their hydrating and energising qualities. If you want to stay hydrated and don’t want the additional carbohydrates from isotonic drinks, then low or no calorie electrolyte tablets are equally as effective.
It is always in your best interest to stay hydrated, and this is especially the case whilst you are exercising. If you are planning on having an active day, you’ll want to ensure you replenish yourself with fluids throughout the day to stay energised and help aid recovery.