HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I DRINK PER DAY?
The amount of water you should drink per day depends on a number of variables, especially the level of activity you plan to undertake. For example, a marathon runner will have different requirements to somebody who is doing a 30-minute weights session in the gym.
General guidelines suggest that you should drink at least 2 liters of water per day. You should increase this by 500ml per hour of intense training, and increase this again if you tend to sweat a lot when you exercise.
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I DRINK BEFORE EXERCISING?
This is where a lot of people make a mistake. Most people are good at taking water to the gym with them for a mid-workout refreshment, but it’s actually even more important to make sure you’ve topped up your fluid levels prior to your session.
You’re most dehydrated when you wake up, so start the day with a tall glass of water. Having drinks regularly throughout the day will make a huge difference in your energy levels by the time you’re ready to work out.
Then, a short water break between sets or during quick breaks from cardio can help stave off exercise-induced dehydration, keeping you at your best for consistently high performance.
EFFECTS OF DEHYDRATION ON THE BODY
The tell-tale signs of dehydration are thirst and dark-coloured urine. It can also cause digestive issues and constipation, and can even make you feel hungrier, because a dehydrated brain confuses hunger and thirst. When you spot any of these symptoms, your body needs some water.
4 WAYS TO SPOT DEHYDRATION DURING YOUR WORKOUT
As we’ve already discussed, our bodies can play tricks on us when our fluid levels start to drop. Here are four tips to help you recognize the effects of dehydration before it starts to become a problem.
1. CHECK YOUR MUSCLES
Muscle cramps are a giveaway that you’re not hydrated enough. If you start to feel cramp coming on, take a break to have a drink. Don’t guzzle it down; instead, opt for short, small sips over a few minutes.
Once you’re refueled, ease yourself back into your exercise, being careful not to overdo it: it can take a while for your muscles to fully rehydrate.
2. DON’T IGNORE A DRY MOUTH
One of the first signs of dehydration is dry mouth. As soon as your mouth starts feeling a little dusty, get a drink. Ignoring dry mouth can seriously impact your performance.
3. PINCH YOURSELF
Skin elasticity, which is the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal, is a giveaway of your hydration levels (though it’s not 100% reliable for everyone). Gently pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds. If the skin takes a while to return to its normal position when you let go, you may be dehydrated.
4. STOP IF YOU FEEL DIZZY
Feeling lightheaded during a workout is a sign of dehydration and a signal to take your workout down a notch.
Though willpower sometimes makes us want to push ourselves through a few more reps or another mile, feeling dizzy is an indicator that your brain isn’t getting the oxygen it needs. You should stop exercising the moment you feel dizzy; powering through a dizziness spell can be dangerous.