During these dog days of summer, it is important to stay hydrated. Cincinnati is experienced record high temperatures between the last week of July and the first week of August. Whether working out indoors or outside, it is important to stay hydrated. When we work out extra hard, or exert ourselves in the heat, our bodies are challenged to keep up with fluid loss. We lose fluids through sweat, respiration and urination. All of these factors can lead to dehydration if we don’t replenish lost fluids in a timely manner.
Water is the best fluid to drink for hydration, although sports drinks do replace electrolytes lost during exercise. Electrolytes maintain the important balance of fluids inside and outside of our cells. When electrolyte balance is out of equilibrium it can cause muscle pain and cramping. Dehydration signs and symptoms include lack of concentration, and early fatigue (earlier than normal). Trouble tolerating heat, as well as a perception of high exertion in training and delayed recovery are also common symptoms.
How much to keeps me hydrated?
The guideline we’ve so often heard is to drink 8 – 8oz glasses of water every day. This guideline has no research basis and has been largely debunked by the medical community. Instead, use this simple guideline – let your thirst by your guide. This can be a bit challenging for some, because we may fail to recognize when we are thirsty, often mistaking it for hunger. Personally, I have water, or some type of pre- or post-workout, water-based drink with me at all times. When it is in front of you, you’ll be more likely to reach for it when you are thirsty or hungry. Carrying a water bottle or tumbler with you at all times is the best way to stay hydrated.
Drinking water throughout the day will also assist with endurance during a workout, and help the fight against fat loss. This is especially important during times of intense heat and humidity like we are experiencing now. Other times to watch your hydration status are during travel, surgery, illness and (workout) recovery days.