If you are an athlete or a sports person, you will know the importance of hydration. Beside nutrition & rest, proper hydration is the other most critical factor you need to care about. Hydration or lack of it can actually affect your performance while exercising or training for a sports event.
Yet athletes are often clueless about how much should the water intake be, thereby running the risk of injury or harm to the body. Read on for more information to how best to optimize water balance in the body and use it to your advantage to perform and to feel better.
Adequate Water Intake
As Singaporeans, we depend on the many water reservoirs as one of the sources for our water needs. Reservoirs store and provide water when needed. How nice would it be if the human body also had an inbuilt reservoir of sorts!
Unfortunately, we humans don’t have a water storage facility. So, timely intake and nourishment of the body with life-saving water is a must. Besides, water also helps in transporting nutrients and other body substances and is important for the digestion, absorption and removal of waste products in our bodies.
Benefits of staying hydrated for Athletes
As we exercise, body temperature rises and the body sweats to remove excess heat. Water regulates our body temperature helping to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Singapore based sports injury doctor and avid marathoner Dr Bryan Wang cautions that lack of hydration especially when we are in the workout mode can lead to undesirable effects like quicker tiredness, experiencing muscle cramps, feeling dizzy or developing other serious symptoms.
It is no wonder then that medical experts and fitness aficionados have time and again stressed on drinking adequate fluids, which helps –
- Increases sports performance
- Keeps joints and muscles lubricated
- Increases mental clarity for exercises
- Maintains body temperature and not overheat
- Upholds normal blood pressure
Not only is eating the right types of foods extremely important for your athletic performance, but drinking adequate fluids is equally essential for optimal sports performance.
Quick tips for Athletes
Some quick tips for athletes to make sure body is properly hydrated.
- Drink water during and beforehand every meal
- Look out for dehydration signs while exercising (muscle cramps, decrease in energy etc)
- Bring a bottle of water every time you exercise
- Make a daily hydration plan
How much water to drink and when to drink
And now for the key question…how to much should you drink? And best time to drink?
A good indication to know if you are properly hydrated is to check your urine. If it is colourless or light yellow, you are well hydrated; dark yellow or amber coloured urine on the other hand can be a sign of dehydration. However, the amounts of water one person requires may not be the same as the other.
Let’s take a look at the ideal water intake amount for before, during and after exercise.
- Before: 500ml to 600ml 2 to 3 hours before you start to exercise
- Before: 250ml 20 to 30 minutes before you start to exercise or during your warm-up
- During: 200ml to 300ml every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
- After: Drink 250ml no more than 30 minutes after you exercise
To be more precise with the quantity to drink, it is advised to measure how much water you lose while exercising. Weigh yourself before and after you exercise. For every pound lost, replace it with 450 to 700 ml of fluids.
Types of Water for Sports Hydration
Whether you are preparing for this year’s Standard Chartered Marathon or embarking on a fitness program at the neighborhood Gym choose an appropriate fluid that’ll help best nourish your body and support you in your sport regime.
Here are some of the common types of water you can choose from –
As everyone knows, water is one of the best drinks to have to fight dehydration. Drinking water while exercising helps to replace the water you are losing when sweating. Water is also easily accessible no matter where you are.
Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water. Electrolyte-infused water often have minerals such as sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Electrolyte-infused water increases sports performance by helping to replenish water, electrolytes and energy lost during the exercises.
Coconut water is an amazing natural sports drink that helps in hydrating your body and boosting your energy before a workout. After your exercise, coconut water helps to replenish all the electrolytes lost. Coconut water helps to prevent fatigue and exhaustion and is a very good energy drink.
Alkaline water is good for your body as it neutralizes the lactic acid that has built up in your muscles and also keeps you hydrated before, during and after your workout. Alkaline water helps your body to maintain a healthy pH balance. It lessens fatigue and provides a more effective and speedy recovery for your body after your workout.
Wrapping it up
If you read this far, then great! Hope you have a better idea and are now well-informed about the recommended guidelines for hydration during sports. So, the next time you are headed to a ActiveSG facility or making your way to the Singapore Sports Hub, remember to bring at least 1.5 liters of liquids in your sports water bottle making sure you are well hydrated before, during and after your exercises.