Today, it seems that everyone is toting a water bottle wherever they go. So you may think that people know how much water to drink for proper hydration; but that’s not necessarily so. Many people are mildly dehydrated without even knowing it.
Getting the proper hydration is vital for our every day health. Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, weakness and inability to sweat. For exercisers, staying hydrated is critical to optimal performance. The body needs water for many chemical reactions, and water is lost through the breath and sweat during workouts.
However, determining how much water to drink can be hard. According to Web MD, drink 15-20 ounces of water one-two hours before a workout, 8-10 ounces of water 15 minutes prior to exercise and 8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise. You may need more if your workouts are conducted in very hot, humid weather or if they last longer than one hour.
While this may seem like a lot of fluid, these recommendations can help ensure proper hydration and maximum energy for workouts.
Experts also recommend that you weigh yourself before and after a workout. For every pound lost, drink 16-20 ounces of fluid to replace what you’ve lost. And make sure that your beverage of choice most often is water to maximize hydration; juices can add extra sugar and calories, sodas are nutritionally void, and coffee and alcohol are diuretics, encouraging more fluid loss. Most exercisers do not need to consume sports drinks unless they are participating in long or multiple workout sessions.
Check your urine output and color to assess your hydration level. You should have to urinate several times daily, and the clearer or paler in color, the better. Dark urine is highly concentrated and points to dehydration.
Studies show that athletes can improve their performance simply by drinking enough water, and this can apply to workout effectiveness as well. So keep a water bottle handy at all times, both in and out of the gym.
The best advice for how much water to drink is to sip often, even when you’re not particularly thirsty.