As Summer kicks into action our very own Power Team have decided to roll out a multi-part series on everything fitness and health. Expert Advice is provided across the board and this week we have tips on Hydration.
As we all know our bodies depend on water in order to survive. Water is important as it helps maintain body temperature, removes waste and is essential for over all good health. However keeping our bodies well hydrated can sometimes require a little bit of effort especially when training or racing in warm weather. When we sweat, our bodies lose fluids and it is essential that these are replaced. Unfortunately our body has a poor mechanism to warn us about dehydration so if you’re feeling thirsty you are already in a state of dehydration. Another indicator of dehydration is dark coloured urine. Being 2% dehydrated can have a negative effect on physical performance as well as being detrimental to our health.
In order to maintain our hydration levels we need to be aware that fluid intake is specific to each person/ athlete. Factors such as the intensity of the exercise, body size and environmental conditions can all affect this. To stay hydrated Coaching Ireland recommend we take 35mls per kg of body weight plus your usual losses from exercise. The best way to calculate usual losses is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Every 1kg of weight lost during exercise should be replaced by 1500mls. This will replenish any fluids lost as well as speeding up the recovery process. The most recent guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine state that water is the most reasonable choice of drink for exercising for less than 60 mines. For exercising any longer than this a sports drink with carbohydrates can be beneficial to help fuel our muscles. Hypotonic drinks are low in carbs i.e. 2% so are ideal for those on calorie restricted diets, isotonic drinks are more concentrated i.e. 6-9% carbs.
- Drink little and often
- Have a bottle with you at all times (preferably a BPA free one)
- Add flavour to your water with lemons/limes or fruit of your choice
- Snack on foods with high water content e.g. water melons are 92% water and contain natural electrolytes
- Start your day with a glass of coconut water; it keeps you hydrated as well as having other health benefits
- If you are well hydrated you should produce urine every couple of hours and it should be light in colour