There are varieties of sports drinks on the market, promising to keep your body hydrated. Some swear to help you run fast and give you strong muscles. Other drinks promise to make you work for longer hours, recover well and run faster than anyone else. But is this true?
It is a fact that you need to remain hydrated during workouts. Water is enough to keep you hydrated when working out for up to one hour. Your body needs extra calories only when exercising in extreme hot weather. Our bodies have different needs depending on the type of exercise, body size, and rate of sweat. You need to consider the following to keep your body hydrated:
Plain water is enough to keep your body hydrated throughout the day. If you do not like the taste, you can buy flavored, but calorie-free water. Ensure the water does not contain sugar to avoid additional calorie intake. Alternatively, you can make flavored water at home using fruits and herbs of your choice. The most common flavors are cucumber, lemon, mint leaves, grapefruits, orange, and lime. Choose your favorite and add a little into the water.
That’s the advice from the International Marathon Medical Directors Association and Tim Noakes, M.D., author of Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Over-hydration in Endurance Sports. The body’s thirst mechanism is exquisitely tuned to tell you when you need to hydrate.
According to Tim Noakes, a renowned author and professor in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, your body’s thirst mechanism is wired to alert your brain when you should hydrate. That means when you feel thirsty is the time your body’s fluid level is inadequate, and you should hydrate it when thirst strikes.
Remember: Bathroom Check!
The best way to measure the hydration level is by checking your urine. When the color of your urine resembles straw or pale lemonade, your body’s hydration level is good. Drink more water if the color of your urine looks like apple juice.
If the environment is humid or hot, drink!
Drink small amounts of water throughout the day. This way, you will not feel nauseated while traveling. Your bathroom, visits will be well spaced too. It ensures that you are ready to exercise at any time. To get the sufficient daily water intake, drink the equivalent of ounces of half your weight. If your body weight is, 150 pounds drink 75 ounces of water. If your weight is 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of your drink of choice. That way, you are sure of neither dehydrating nor over-hydrating.
Check your drink label always
Chances are the aim of your workouts is to lose weight. It is, thus, important to consume sports drinks with low sugar and calories. Keep away from fruit juice, coffee, and high-octane sports drinks. They all have high calories. Drink coconut water or calorie-free sports drinks, if your aim is to replace electrolytes. You want to lose weight while keeping your body hydrated. Look for a drink with 50 or fewer calories in every 16 ounces. The best option still is water with a slice of a fruit of your choice.
Studies have shown that caffeine is an alertness and energy booster. There is no harm in drinking caffeinated tea or coffee before exercising. You will want to visit the bathroom after the drink. It is, thus, better to take the drink well before your workout. This will avoid interruptions in between the exercise
You may want to know how much water you lose during an hour of workout. You can do this by weighing yourself while naked before and after exercising. You have lost 16 ounces of fluid if you lose one pound after the workout. You can take a similar amount of fluids when working out to replace the water lost.
Rehydrate after working out
You are a salty sweater if after a workout you notice white patches or streaks on your clothes and skin. This means that you have lost sodium from your body. Drink vegetable juice to get a good amount of sodium. You can dissolve an electrolyte tablet in water and drink. An alternative is a low sugar and calorie sports drink. All these will replace the sodium and keep your body hydrated after a workout.
You can make a sports drink at home using natural ingredients. Look for the following ingredients and mix them well:
- ⅓ tsp salt
- 24 oz water
- 8 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
Follow these tips for hydrating your system and you will be on way to having a healthy body, smooth skin and alert mind.