Improve Your Hydration and #SayItWithSweat
Efficient body cooling and hydration go together like peas in a pod, that's why it's important to know how to stay hydrated so you can perform at your best!
The biggest component of sweat is water, so whenever you sweat, your hydration will need to be topped up.
What should you be drinking?
Let's start off with some basics, drinking lots of fluids is not necessarily the same as staying well hydrated. Drinking only high sugar, milk-based or alcoholic drinks will dehydrate you - that's why it's vitally important to drink water (or if you really struggle with straight water then herbal teas) to keep yourself well hydrated.
As a benchmark, aiming to drink around 2 litres of water per day will keep you hydrated - however the Institute of Medicine has quoted higher numbers to include dietary water from your food intake and other beverages, putting the required total water intake at 2.7 litres for women and 3.7 litres for men.
"Can't I just hydrate with sports drinks?"
Sports drinks should be considered an addition to your recommended water intake for the following reasons:
Performance sports drinks, such as isotonic fructose drinks, are designed to optimize your hydration when you are sweating a lot. By providing a liquid with a balance of salts (which will be excreted through sweat), fructose (to quickly replemish energy stores) and water, performance sports drinks will help replace fluids lost during exercise.
These can either be natural - such as coconut water, or man-made - such as dissolvable tablets, and will vary in sugar/salt ratios depending on the brand. You should always test out your isotonic sports drinks before big events to find the right solution for you.
Recovery sports drinks, such as protein shakes, are designed to help your body recover from the strain of exercise by providing protein for growth and repair. However, the liquid form of protein shakes is used as a tool for speedy digestion, not rehydration.
Whey is a diuretic, although it is easy to absorb for digestion, the hydration properties of a protein shake are neglegible.
Tips to stay hydrated:
Maintain a steady base-level of hydration: by maintaining a regular drinking pattern (typically directed by your own thirst feedback loop) your body will regulate its hydration levels.
Pre-empt dehydration with extra water: if you're going into a situation where you will sweat a lot and have limited access to water, such as a Hot Bikram Yoga class, going into the class well-hydrated will make it more enjoyable and enhance the sweaty-benefits of Bikram!
Choose water when thirsty: sure, it's not the most exciting beverage on the market, but if you equate thirst with water rather than a soft drink, you will be better hydrated. Carrying a water Bobble around with you will make it easy to stay hydration on the move.
- Pay attention to your pee: what goes in, must come out, and your pee is a key indicator to your hydration - if you're well hydrated then you have enough water to flush out your body's toxin effectively.
Make sure you optimize your performance with all the right tools; hydration, nutrition, structured training and the right sportswear.
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