Hydration is key!

We all know the importance of water and hydration, it directly affects the intensity of our workouts, the way we feel, and the results we achieve.  It cannot be understated how important replenishing the liquids that we’ve lost through perspiration during/after a workout is.  It’s also important to consume liquids post-workout, as it contributes to our recovery.

The key to proper hydration during and after a workout, is actually the time that we consume our fluids.  It’s recommended that we consume 2 cups of fluid 2 hours before a rigorous bout of physical activity, due to the fact that our body needs this time to properly absorb the liquid. This should be followed up with 4-6 ounces of liquid consumed every 15-20 mins, which roughly equates to 2 additional cups of water over an hour-long workout period (16 oz total).  This sustains us for the entirety of the workout, since excessive perspiration leads to dehydration, which in turns reduces our physical and cognitive functions.  It’s been noted by the National Center of Biology and Technology, that just a 2% decrease in hydration affects performance in tasks that require attention and psycho-motor skills – things that are extremely important for safely performing different types of exercises, and focusing during games and activities that require a high amount of focus.

Depending on the type of activity you are partaking in, you can affect your performance by choosing to consume different liquids.  Generally, water is the best type of liquid to consume, as it’s extremely effective in hydrating our bodies, and replaces valuable electrolytes that we lose through perspiration.  However, there are merits to consuming other beverage types, such as natural fruit juices or sports drinks such as Gatorade.  The sugar from these drinks replenishes carbohydrate reserves, giving us a quick jolt of energy to improve our performance.  It’s not recommended that we consume these beverages if our workouts are lower intensity, or under one hour.  The carbohydrates, if not used, have the potential to be converted to fat reserves.

To conclude, hydration is one of the single most important aspects of self-care when it comes to participating in physical activity, and everyone should be consuming liquids when they exercise.  It not only affects our physical performance, it also affects our recovery, and our attention levels/cognitive engagement.