The Importance of Staying Hydrated. Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during and after exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It also helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms.
A simple way to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated is to check your urine. If your urine is consistently colourless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-coloured urine is a sign of dehydration.
How much water should I drink whilst exercising?
There are no exact rules for how much water to drink while exercising because everyone is different. You need to consider factors including your sweat rate, the heat and humidity in your environment and how long and hard you are exercising.
The American Council on Exercise has suggested the following basic guidelines for drinking water before, during and after exercise:
• Drink about 500ml of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising
• Drink 250ml of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up
• Drink about 200-300ml of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
• Drink 250ml of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise
Dehydration happens when you lose more fluid than you drink. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t work properly. Dehydration can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of dehydration can include the following:
• Dizziness or lightheaded feeling
• Nausea or vomiting
• Muscle cramps
• Dry mouth
• Lack of sweating
• Hard, fast heartbeat