Dehydration Leads to Energy Loss
Keeping your energy up is obviously key when exercising - as fatigue sabotages good form, intensity and the length of time you can workout. As your muscles move, your internal temperature rises causing you to sweat, which is your body’s way of keeping your core temperature in the norm. If your body detects a shortage of water, it will send signals to your brain and muscles to make you feel tired and (hopefully) slow you down. The body is pretty smart; it knows to slow down muscle movement and heat production when dehydrated. If you push through the fatigue, the body will slow you down further by sending stronger signals such as dizziness, headaches and nausea, signals that are harder to ignore.
So avoid lousy workouts by making sure you are hydrated before you start, and that you keep hydrated while exercising. In general, you should be drinking enough fluids throughout the day to keep your urine clear to pale yellow (approximately two litres of water a day but it varies per individual).
- A couple of hours before you exercise, drink an additional 1 or 2 cups of water
- Top up your water right before exercise with another ½ to 1 cup
- Have access to water during your workout and drink ½ to 1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes
Water is not only important for energy; it’s also used to lubricate your joints. With the presence of electrolytes, water also allows for the proper functioning of the heart, brain, balance mechanisms and muscles.
How much water should you drink after exercise? First, measure how much water you lose during your workout by weighing yourself before and then immediately afterwards. That weight loss is all water. To recover, drink two cups of water for every pound of lost body weight. If you aren’t able to measure remember that delayed urination, urine that is yellow and has a strong odor, headaches, and dizziness are all signs that you did not drink enough after exercise.
Bored of water? Try adding some lemon to your aqua for a refreshing change. You can also hydrate the body with your favourite herbal teas. Milk is hydrating, but don’t drink it like water all day, as it can cause digestive distress in many and of course has extra calories. Use caution with caffeine, as having more caffeine than you are used to is dehydrating; it is a diuretic in amounts above your norm. It’s also a good idea to avoid unnecessary liquids like juice, energy drinks, pop and commercial sport drinks.
Does this blog post strike a chord with you? Looking for more ways to exercise smarter (rather than harder)? You should check out the Pre & Post Workout Nutrition Workshop we're offering in a few weeks!
If you are looking for more fitness or nutrition information to help you achieve your health & fitness goals please contact Christine Hanlan, Health & Wellness Ambassador. All members can have a complimentary Fitness Assessment and a Nutrition Assessment with Christine annually to go over health goals and create or review fitness and nutrition plans. Please contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by her office upstairs in the Fitness Centre at the end of the treadmills.