Hydration + Exercise: A Practical Guide

Water and physical activity make one
It’s logical: the more you move, the thirstier you become. But whenever this happens, do you realize that your body’s reaction is in fact the first sign of dehydration? In order to help us understand the importance of drinking an adequate amount of water, and how to go about doing just that, we spoke to Glacéau nutritionist and educator Kari Carvey. Here’s our thirst-quenching low-down!
Why is it important to drink water before a workout?
“Staying hydrated is essential. Drinking water beforehand can provide consistent hydration during a workout and, since water isn’t stored, water intake must be balanced with water loss.”
How much time prior to physical exercise should one begin drinking water?
“Drinking water first thing in the morning is an ideal way to start the day. While sleeping, you lose fluids and your body has been working hard metabolizing nutrients, vitamins and minerals that need to be replenished. If you’re properly hydrated at least 30 minutes before your workout and are drinking fluids during exercise, it will be easier to maintain stamina and focus.”
How much should one consume?
“The body is 60% water. Drinking 2L of water per day can help maintain proper growth and development, facilitate metabolic functions, and help repair tissues and organs. One should then increase water intake during extreme workouts and prolonged exercise.”
Do drinks containing water count? 
“Most fluids contribute to water intake as do foods that have high water content (e.g. lettuce, melons, apples, kiwis). Coffee, tea, and alcohol contain diuretics (a chemical that promotes fluid excretion and increases urine volume) so these beverages should be consumed minimally. Glacéau vitaminwater contributes to staying hydrated during exercise by providing great-tasting water enhanced with vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates for energy.”
Why is it important to drink water during a workout?
“Drinking water during a workout is important so that you can replenish your lost fluids, quench your thirst, and prevent injuries. Muscles require fluid to be pliable and water can also help to prevent injury to joints and tissues by acting as a shock absorber.”
How often should one hydrate themselves during a workout?
“One should be hydrating continually and throughout the workout. Hydration should always be on hand.
For those who have a tendency to forget to drink water during a workout, what tip do you have to help combat this habit?
“Get an alarm! Most smartphones and iPhones have alarms and applications. Set your alarm so that it rings every 15 minutes to remind yourself to hydrate.”
How can one avoid cramps?
“One can avoid crampsby staying properly hydrated and oxygenated before, during, and after exercise. Muscles require oxygen and fluids to properly function and restore the metabolic changes that happen during exercise. Warming up the muscles with stretches and cardio before a workout will increase blood flow.”
Why is it important to drink water after a workout?
“After a workout, the body attempts to restore homeostasis (constant conditions within the body’s systems) as quickly as possible by adjusting water intake with the desire to drink (thirst). It’s important to drink fluids promptly following a workout to avoid dehydration.”
What quantity is recommended, and at what frequency?
“A general water requirement is difficult to establish. Recommendations are expressed in proportion to the exercise and energy expended. An average adult needs about 1L of water (at least) after a workout. Fluid needs can be met by water and other beverages that deliver valuable nutrients. Drinking fluids at a consistent pace helps to maintain proper hydration.”
What are some of the symptoms of dehydration to watch out for?
“Dehydration can easily develop with either excessive water loss or water deprivation. The first symptom is thirst, and dehydration can progress rapidly. Weakness, headache, confusion, concentrated urine, exhaustion, and delirium are all symptoms of dehydration. Dehydration can be quickly resolved by increasing fluid intake.”

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