7 Things You Should Know About Workout Hydration

This summer has been HOT, but I know all of you athletes are still training despite the heat and humidity. Unfortunately, such extreme temperatures can result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. Not only are these conditions dangerous, but they also hinder performance in both endurance and power athletes.

Here are some tips to stay properly hydrated so you can thrive in your warm weather training:

1. Pre-hydration is just as important as post-hydration.

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You need to be hydrated before you even start training ! This means, for the entire day leading up to your workout, you need to be drinking 1-2 cups of fluid an hour - not including coffee. You should also drink a  cup of water about 15-30 minutes prior to exercise. If you workout in the morning (to avoid this horrible heat and humidity) you need to hydrate the entire day before!

2. Take a lot of slow sips during the workout.

During the workout, you should be drinking 4-8 ounces of fluid every 20-30 minutes. I know this may sound like a lot, but you can take slow sips, and it doesn’t to be consumed all at once! If you are exercising for more than one hour, you also want to be replenishing your electrolytes often. If your workout or activity is under an hour, replenishing afterwards is fine!

3. Avoid sugary drinks.

Try to stay away from sugary drinks like Gatorade. Instead, look for drinks or tabs (dissolve in your water bottle) that will replenish your electrolytes with no caffeine and less than 2% of carbohydrates from sugar.

4. Measure water intake more accurately.

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There are a few ways to measure your hydration. One is by the color of your urine: lighter yellow or clear urine indicates hydration. However, keep in mind that caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks) and alcohol are deceiving because they will dehydrate you while still keeping your urine light. Another way to gauge hydration is by weighing yourself before and after a workout to determine water loss. For every pound you lose immediately post-workout, you will need to drink 16oz of water.

5. Know the factors affecting dehydration.

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Everyone is different and these are just guidelines. Each person will dehydrate at a different rate depending on: how long your workout is, how humid or hot it is outside, and how hydrated you are before your workout.

6. Be aware of the signs of dehydration.

Some of the signs and symptoms include dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, dry mouth, lack of sweating, and a hard and fast heartbeat. More severe dehydration presents in mental confusion, weakness, and loss of consciousness. If you have these symptoms or see someone experiencing symptoms of dehydration or heat illness, get immediate medical attention!

7. Have your trusty water bottle on hand as a reminder to drink more!

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Insulated and stylish water bottles can be a huge help in staying hydrated, as they keep your water cold and make you look cool ; ) In fact, I am selling  handmade water tumblers to raise money for Swim for Sally in October, an event honoring my mom, who dedicated her life to bettering those around her. In her honor, we are raising money for the The Sally Schenkman ADA Locker Room at the Randolph YMCA. If you are interested in purchasing one of these tumblers (or a swim cap) please direct message me on Instagram here!

Have fun training and stay safe!!

- Dr. Schenkman