Water water everywhere — it’s a very common substance that covers approximately 71% of the earth’s surface, and is absolutely essential to all known forms of life. In fact, water makes up approximately 55% – 60% of the human body. Of course, all of that water has to come from somewhere, which is why, aside from oxygen, water is the single most important thing that we take into our bodies. Simply put, the importance of hydration cannot be overstated.
This is doubly true for exercise enthusiasts.
The Dangers of Dehydration
Regular exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That said, if you regularly engage in strenuous, physical activity without increasing your fluid intake, then you may be pushing your body towards dehydration.
When we workout, our bodies lose water at an accelerated speed. Faster, deeper breathing coupled with increased sweat production means more and more of our precious fluids are being evaporated away. Along with that water goes critical nutrients and electrolytes. This can quickly lead to dehydration, and all of the dangers that come with it.
Long-term dehydration can lead to chronic back pain, headaches, depression, high-blood pressure, digestive disorders, obesity, premature aging, kidney problems, and possibly even diabetes and heart disease.
Of course, the importance of hydration isn’t just a long-term concern. As soon as your fluid levels begin to drop below recommended amounts, you’ll probably start to feel it. Reduced energy levels are likely the first indicators of dehydration. Muscle cramps (caused by increased muscle sensitivity and involuntary muscle contractions) are also a common symptom, as are constipation, dry skin, and dizziness. And, of course, poor hydration means reduced performance, as well as reduced caloric burn.
The problem is that many of us think that we can stave off dehydration simply by listening to our bodies. However, this may not be the case.
Signs of Dehydration
If you feel thirsty, there’s a good chance that you are dehydrated. That said, it’s possible, even common, for adults to be dehydrated without experiencing thirst. As we age, or thirst sense becomes less accurate, meaning that we may be well into dangerous levels of dehydration before we ever start to think about getting a drink.
With this in mind, it makes sense to learn to identify some of the other common signs of dehydration.
The color and consistency of your urine are reliable indicators. Urine that is a deep yellow or golden color is likely a sign of dehydration. Urine from a well-hydrated person will be clear, almost colorless. Similarly, infrequent urination may be related to dehydration. A dry or sticky feeling mouth is another symptom to look out for.
Dehydration can also affect your cognitive abilities. Feeling fatigued, disoriented, confused or irrationally irritable may be a sign that you need more fluids. Other symptoms include headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, or even fevers.
The good news is that staying hydrated during exercise can be as easy as taking a drink — as long as you’re doing it frequently enough and focusing on the right kinds of drinks.
How Much Is Enough?
How much water you need depends on a variety of factors, but a good general rule is to take your body weight in pounds, and then divide that number in half. You’ll be left with the approximate amount of water (in ounces) you should be consuming every day. So, for a sedentary 180 lb person, the recommended daily intake would be about 90 oz. However, as we’ve already established, those who exercise regularly also lose water more quickly. This means that athletes and other workout enthusiasts need even more fluids if they want to maintain optimal hydration levels. For them, fluid loss depends on several factors.
Workout intensity and duration both play a role, as do environmental conditions (hot, humid environments lead to increased fluid loss). The clothing worn during exercise can likewise lead to increased fluid loss.
In order to prevent dehydration and help ensure optimal workout results, you need to be getting the right amount of fluids, before, during, and after you exercise.
On average, most individuals should be shooting for 17 – 20 ounces of fluids 3 hours prior to exercising, then 8 ounces during warm up, 7 – 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes while exercising, and finishing up with 8 ounces within 30 minutes of completing their routine. That said, there are other considerations to keep in mind that may affect how many fluids you should be ingesting.
Of course, water isn’t the only thing you lose when you sweat. This is why it’s also important to replenish your body’s electrolytes when you hydrate.
The Benefits of Hydration with Electrolytes
To understand the benefits of hydration with electrolytes, consider running hydration. Running is an endurance sport, where the body is often required to operate under strenuous conditions for prolonged periods of time. As the runner continues to push themself, more and more of their body’s natural electrolyte minerals, like sodium, potassium and calcium, are lost via sweat. Proper running hydrationmust therefore replenish these lost electrolytes rapidly enough to offset sweat-related losses.
Electrolytes are so named because they facilitate the transfer of electrical charges throughout the body. These charges are responsible for stimulating muscles and nerves, and also help maintain basic cellular functions. A body that is able to retain the right electrolyte balance during exercise is one that will be operating more efficiently, resulting in improved performance and energy.
Sodium-enhanced sports drinks can help provide not only vital fluids to keep you hydrated, but also help you maintain proper electrolyte levels, so that you’re ready for whatever your workout throws at you. Of course, to really enjoy the benefits of hydration while you exercise, you need more than just a bit of water mixed with salts; you need Hype.
Hype up Your Workout
Hype is a new low-calorie hydration drink from Progenex designed to help you maintain optimal fluid and electrolyte levels, while also balancing serotonin levels in your brain to help combat fatigue. This is made possible thanks to fatigue-fighter peptides, rather than unhealthy stimulants. Essentially, Hype gives you the energy to remain focused and committed to your workout, and the hydration to keep your body in the zone for as long as you need.
Water may cover most of the earth’s surface, but that doesn’t mean it’s everywhere it needs to be. Too many workout enthusiasts are failing to replenish their fluids as they exercise, and that can lead to a number of potential health complications — both short and long term.