Proper Hydration For Exercise

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Keeping your bodies well-hydrated through the day is important and becomes increasingly so as you undertake the different stages of your workout—during your workout, before your workout and even after you are done with that last lap!

One of the factors to consider is the rate at which your body can absorb water.  Often during exercise your body will lose water faster than you can replenish it.  It is important therefore to drink plenty of fluid during the day before you take part in exercise and even in the preceding days if you are competing.  It is equally important to drink after exercise to replace lost fluids. 

Everyone is different and an easier way of ensuring proper hydration is drinking according to sweat rate; what this means is that you should drink the same amount of water that you lost during your workout.

This is increasingly crucial when you factor climate into your hydration replacement plan as Singapore is hotter and more humid than most countries—something that you should take into consideration when understanding standard hydration plans.

How to calculate sweat rate

Sweat Rate = (weight before exercise) – (weight taken one hour after exercise)

You should aim to replenish the same amount of sweat lost with water at a rate of:

  • 1kg body weight: Approximately 1 litre of fluid.

If you are unsure of your weight before and after the workout, a good hydration guide is to drink:

  • Before exercise (30 minutes before): 500ml of water
  • During exercise (every 15 minutes): 125 - 250ml
  • After exercise: 1000ml of water

Signs of dehydration

Dehydration is caused by the lack of salts and water loss from the body. In order to keep our bodies functioning, you need to ensure that the amount of water you take in exceeds the amount of water leaving the body. If you fail to do so, your body will start to show a few symptoms of dehydration:

  • Vertigo
  • Yellow and dark coloured urine
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle cramps

Liquids to avoid

Although hydration is important for exercise, you must be aware of the different kinds of liquids and their effects. Some liquids like coffee and alcohol are counter-productive as they cause dehydration and should be avoided.

Risk of Overhydrating

Just as you are worrying about not getting enough fluids into your system, you have to also be cautious of over-hydrating.  This can be the result of drinking very substantial amounts of water, (in excess of 5 litres daily), without replacing salts.  It result can result in the dilution of sodium concentration in the bloodstream; this usually results in vomiting, headaches and confusion—something that would be best avoided.

Although the risk of overhydrating is worrying, Singapore ultimately has a hot climate and running the risk of over hydration is slim. As long as you practise moderation with your drinking habits and avoid more than 5 litres, your body will remain sufficiently hydrated in a hot climate.