Majority of people tend to forget to consume enough fluids during the workout in order to stay hydrated and assist bodies’ natural cooling process. An extensive research indicates that a well hydrated person functions physiologically better, while inadequate consumption of fluids not only effects exercise capacity, but also can be life threatening. It’s important to avoid dehydration during exercise.
However, how much do we need to drink and what should we be drinking during the exercise?
One should aim to begin exercise with a comfortably fluid filled stomach, which needs to be toped up with 150 to 250 ml every 10-20 minutes depending on the environment. Aim to replace at least 80% of sweat losses during the exercise.
The fluids that are great for rehydration should contain between 4-8% carbohydrate concentrations, contain some electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Moreover it is important that the fluids that are used for rehydration contain the correct osmolality.
Osmolality describes the number of osmoles of particles or solutes in a kilogram of solvent. It is the total concentration of dissolved materials in a solution regardless of their specific identities. For example in the sport drink the solvent is usually water.
For rehydration purposes a hypotonic solution works the best as it has an osmolality that is lower than body fluids. This results in the water component flowing from the gut lumen into the blood, carrying with it some electrolytes.
Even though majority of individuals drink water during the exercise, water does not have all the necessary nutrition components to assist bodies’ rehydration. A well designed sport drink is much better suited since it contains a readily available source of carbohydrates, sodium to help body retain the fluids, as well as mineral balance to alleviate problems associated with cramping and helps to decrease recovery time.
Most fruit juices can work just as well as sport drinks, and they tend to be more natural source of fluid during the workout.
In conclusion one should remember that the above guide is only applicable to the fluid intake during a short intense workout. Water should not be substituted during the normal day by sport drinks or by just fruit juices as a healthy diet should contain at least 3 liters of water on the daily basis.