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We all know that our bodies need water to survive, and that proper hydration is crucial if we want to live happy and healthy lives.
Throughout the day we’re constantly losing water — through breathing, going to the bathroom, and sweating. So it’s important to make sure that we keep ourselves topped up so as to avoid dehydration. And according to the Eatwell Guide, we should consume 6-8 cups of fluids every day (which includes tea and coffee).
But we may need to drink even more if we’re planning on exercising. According to WebMD we should ideally consume a total 680-887ml of water (over a period of several hours) before even starting a workout. Which may be important considering that the side effects of dehydration during exercise may include dizziness, lethargy, and cramp. None of which are ideal if we want to stay strong, improve our physical health, and keep motivated.
Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know whether or not we’re consuming enough water. But a simple enough method of checking your hydration levels is to check your urine. The general rule is that if it’s clear or light yellow, you’re well hydrated; if it’s dark yellow or amber in colour, you might de dehydrated.
And though the Eatwell guide states that other fluids (such as tea, coffee, and sugar-free drinks) can work perfectly well for keeping us hydrated, water is still considered to be the best by most.
Sports drinks are the obvious go-to for many when it comes to keeping hydrated during exercising. These types of beverages, which contain carbohydrates and electrolytes, can be great options for longer periods of intense exercise. Because we lose electrolytes through sweat, and sports drinks can help the body to replenish them at an adequate rate.
We can become dehydrated alarming quickly through exercise, so it’s important to keep our fluid levels up. And sports drinks are, of course, one way of doing this.
But generally speaking, keeping well hydrated can be extremely beneficial for our exercise regimes. Proper hydration can help the heart to pump nutrients and oxygen to the muscles we’re working. And the result of this is that we’l feel far more energetic and active, which might even allow us to exercise more!
Of course, all this being said, it is possible to drink too much water. But this is a rare occurrence, and by following reasonable and well-established hydration guidelines most people should be fine. Just remember never to overdo it. A simple rule is to keep a bottle of water handy at all times, and if you feel thirsty, take a drink.
So, of course, proper hydration can drastically improve your athletic performance. And not only is it good for your health, but it might just help you achieve some new personal bests in the gym!
For more on keeping fit and healthy, why not take a look at our post on the benefits of walking.