Jan Blalock, Fitness Director & Certified Personal Trainer
Whether you’re a serious athlete or recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after exercising! Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. When you do not consume enough water and liquids to stay properly hydrated, you end up thirsty and light headed. Insufficient hydration fatigues your muscles, reduces your coordination, and causes muscle cramps. Dizziness and lightheadedness can cause you to faint, fall, and injure yourself!
While working out, dehydration compromises the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating. This can lead to heat exhaustion and, in extreme cases, a potentially life threatening condition called heat stroke. Properly hydrating before, during, and after using a hot tub, steam room, or sauna is just as important as when working out!
How much water should you drink? A simple way to help determine whether you are drinking enough water is to check your urine. Pale or clear urine means you’re well hydrated. Darker means drink more fluids. Most people require 6–10 glasses of water per day, depending on level of activity, amount you sweat, and any health conditions you may have.
For most people, water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration. However, if you are planning to exercise at a high intensity for more than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful because it contains carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar. A sports drink can also help replace electrolytes lost due to fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Choose sports drinks wisely, though, as they are often high in sugar, calories, and sodium.
Look out for these symptoms of dehydration:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
- Sweating stops
- Heart palpitations
- Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
Keeping a bottle of water with you and filled with fresh water throughout the day is key! There is filtered water readily available throughout the club! Be sure to fill your water bottle before your workout and drink before, during, and after for good health!