Friday, July 29, 2011

What to Drink for Proper Hydration During Exercise

Staying hydrated is essential for everyone, but athletes have an even greater need to maintain proper hydration. Water is the most important nutrient for life and has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body.

It is important to drink even before signs of thirst appear. Thirst is a signal that your body is already on the way to dehydration. It is important to drink more than thirst demands and to continue to drink throughout the day.

Sports drinks can be helpful to athletes who are exercising at a high intensity for 60 minutes or more. Fluids supplying 60 to 100 calories per 8 ounces helps to supply the needed calories required for continuous performance. It’s really not necessary to replace losses of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes during exercise since you’re unlikely to deplete your body’s stores of these minerals during normal training. If, however, you find yourself exercising in extreme conditions over 3 or 5 hours (a marathon, Ironman or ultramarathon, for example) you may likely want to add a complex sports drink with electrolytes.

If you plan on exercising heavily for an extended period of time, it will be important to consume 100-250 mLs of water at least every half an hour. If this is not feasible, ensure you have a few glasses of water 20-30 minutes before exercising, and allow proper rehydration afterwards.

Isotonic sports drinks contain electrolytes at a similar concentration to body fluids. This allows the drink to be absorbed as fast as water. These drinks also contain carbohydrates to help maintain performance by providing energy to the body. During an intense, prolonged workout or training session, to maintain stamina, the intake of extra carbohydrate will be necessary.

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