Water is essential to our daily diet and everything we do, especially in the warmer months. It’s important to know the facts about hydration before starting a workout routine or enjoying your favorite outdoor activity. Here are some tips on how much water one should drink to stay hydrated.
- Drink 16 ounces of water one hour before exercise
- Drink four to eight ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes of exercise
- Drink eight ounces of fluid every 15 -20 minutes after your workout or activity is over
- One to two gulps = one ounce
- Drink water for events lasting less than one hour and sports drinks for events lasting over an hour
Sports drinks, protein shakes, and recovery drinks can be acceptable for a post-workout drinks. But, it depends on the intensity and length of the workout. Water is still the best option. During a prolonged, vigorous workout, an individual can lose carbohydrates, minerals, and electrolytes. In this case, sports drinks would be a good choice because they usually contain those necessary components. Sports drinks also usually contain an unnecessary amount of sugar and calories. Protein shakes and recovery drinks can also be a good supplement for hydration. Protein has shown it can enhance muscle recovery when consumed immediately after a workout. Low-fat chocolate milk is actually a better choice over a protein shake.
Energy drinks lead people to believe they can improve physical performance, but they contain negative side effects from non-nutritive stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, taurine or creatine.
Proper hydration not only helps improve overall athletic performance, but it can also aid in the recovery process. Water is always the best option when deciding what to drink after exercising.
Dehydration is the excessive loss of fluids from the body or through sweating, urination, diarrhea or vomiting. The signs and symptoms can range from minor to severe and may cause:
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Decreased performance
- Muscle cramps
- Extreme fatigue
I often recommend that athletes “start hydrated, stay hydrated."