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The Importance of Hydration: Before, During, and After Exercise

The Importance of Hydration Before, During and After Exercise
By: Kaylie Pederson; Personal
 Trainer and Fitness Consultant 

Staying hydrated is important for day to day life. When you are training or working out on a regular basis, it is key to know you must increase your intake of water to make sure you don’t become dehydrated.  Water is an essential nutrient responsible for regulating many important functions in the body.  There are two easy ways to monitor your hydration status: urine colour and your pre- and post-exercise weight.  Urine should be light to light yellow; a darker coloured yellow would suggest dehydration.  Comparing pre- and post-exercise weight can give you a fairly accurate measurement of the amount of fluid lost during your workout.  Typically, for each pound lost you need to consume 2-3 cups of fluid to help rehydrate your body after exercise.

Pre-Exercise Hydration

It is important to remember that you should be fully hydrated pre-exercise in order to perform well during your workout and to avoid reaching a fluid deficit during your workout. Some guidelines to follow when it comes to pre-exercise hydration are to drink 5 to 7 milliliters of water or sports drink per kilogram of body weight 2 hours before your workout and avoid anything with carbonation as carbonation has been known to cause gastrointestinal distress.

Hydration During Exercise

The purpose of remaining hydrated during exercise is to prevent a level of dehydration that affects sport performance. It is recommended that you consumer water throughout a work out, regardless of intensity, to maintain hydration and electrolyte levels.

Post-Exercise Hydration

Replenishment after your workout is important, to maintain electrolyte and carbohydrate levels. Some guidelines to follow for post-exercise hydration are; replace fluid lost during exercise (consume 2-3 cups of fluid per pound lost) and consume sodium to speed hydration, replace the lost sodium and also stimulate thirst (sodium lost through sweating).