By: Steven Thrash
Dehydration can happen to anyone. It takes place when your body loses more fluid than you can take in to compensate. If your body isn’t hydrated, it can’t carry out all its necessary functions and your body can actually shut down. There’s nothing to worry about though. Here are three easy steps to follow, so you can make sure you stay hydrated during your workouts.
- DRINK: The simplest way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of fluids. Typically, you should drink .25 to .75 of a liter of water prior to exercising to prepare your body. Once you begin your workout, you need to replenish the fluids your body is losing during the activity. Water is the easiest way to make sure you don’t dehydrate, while you exercise. Water is very accessible, free and devoid of calories and sugar. Naturally, some people don’t enjoy the bland taste of water, so they opt for a sports drink. This is a great alternative to water, as long as you use these beverages in moderation. Remember, most sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are loaded with sugar and calories. However, sports drinks replenish electrolytes, which water doesn’t do. Electrolytes regulate the amount of water in your body and can help prolong your workout. Gatorade 2 (G2) and Powerade Zero are fantastic alternatives to their sugary and calorie-ridden counterparts.
- EAT: Some people actually get hungry during their workout. And if fluids are in short supply, there are many foods that can help you stay hydrated as you exercise. Vegetables and fruits are tops on the list of foods that you can ‘eat to drink.’ Cucumbers are an excellent choice, because they are 95% water. Salad greens are another good option, with 90% water content, and a couple of cups contain less than 15 calories. Strawberries, watermelon and papaya are also loaded with water. And regular, plain-flavored yogurt offers approximately 85% water content. Yogurt also offers your body B vitamins and, in some cases, probiotics. Check labels to know which yogurt brands have the most to offer you.
- MONITOR: As weird as it may sound, you can make sure you stay hydrated during your workouts by visiting the bathroom. Yes, you heard me right, because your urine can actually alert you to whether or not you need more fluids. If you’re properly hydrated, your urine will be clear or have a pale, yellowish tint. Watch for darker urine, because it reveals you could be heading toward dehydration. Also, pay attention to how you are feeling. If your muscles are getting too sore to continue, or you are feeling dizzy, these are danger signs that tell you that there is a need to hydrate.
Drink, eat and monitor! Remember these three easy steps, so you can stay safe and hydrated during your workouts. Always, remember to keep in mind that you will need more or less fluids depending on your particular workout intensity and environment.