On average, an individual can lose up to one liter of water per hour of vigorous exercise. Take into account heat and humidity, the loss can increase up to three liters of water per hour.1 Each liter of water weighs about 2 pounds so this can result in substantial loss of water weight during vigorous exercise. Significant water weight loss can lead to dehydration, decreased cell function, and, ultimately, drop in athletic performance.
We’re told often to drink more water daily. Drink more water during exercise. If you’re thirsty, it’s already too late and you’re dehydrated. With all the information looming around on how, when, and what to drink, it can be overwhelming to figure out how best can we hydrate to optimize our athletic performance. We have come a long way since sugar sports drinks were invented, such as Gatorade in 1965 by a team of football coaches and academic researchers aiming to improve the athletic performance of the University of Florida Gators.2 It didn’t taste well then however we have better ways to hydrate smart. Here are four quick tips how to hydrate for health and performance:
Drink water when you wake up – most health gurus start their day with a glass or two of water on an empty stomach, some add lemon or honey, some warm it up, others make it two glasses. We wake up dehydrated after a night’s rest; therefore, hydrate the cells first thing in the morning with a glass or two of water.
Spread it out – fill a liter reusable water bottle and make it a goal to sip it throughout the day. Gradually increase your daily intake to 2L, 3L, etc. The more active you are within sports, work, or social activities, the more you should increase your intake. When your urinating often and your urine is clear, you’re well hydrated. Some endurance athletes even make it a goal to drink a gallon of water per day. Well hydrated cells means greater skin, hair, muscles, and cell vitality.
Take into account heat, humidity, intensity, and duration of exercise– the hotter, more humid, and intense the exercise, the more hydration you will need. If you are consuming water throughout the day already, it makes it easier to hydrate throughout exercise before, during, and after efficiently. We have to train our gut to learn how to process hydration and fuel effectively during a race or game time so the best time to practice is during training. If you would like to get technical, you can calculate your sweat rate3 to calculate out exactly how much to drink during exercise while you take into account all the above factors. The more we practice during training, the more we learn about our bodies to optimize it during performance.
Add electrolytes to your hydration– Electrolytes are minerals with an electrical charge found in blood, urine, tissues, and other bodily fluids.4 Electrolytes are responsible for a variety of physiological functions such as muscle contractions and nerve impulses. Cells cannot function without electrolytes and begin to lose their function when they are low in electrolytes or cellular fluid. We can find electrolytes in foods we consumer and also in electrolyte mixes we can add to our water, such as Oral Rehydration Formula (ORF)by Vital 4U. With only 30 Calories per packet, ORF is an optimal to replenish your electrolytes without the excess sugar.
Oral Rehydration Formula5
Made with a blend of the critical electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride), ORF uses organic cane sugar and monk fruit in a natural lemon flavor. It is vegan, gluten free, non-gmo. It also includes immune support with added Vitamin C and Zinc combined for better cellular uptake. It does not contain stevia or caffeine.
Training our bodies and mind to reach a new speed or new distance takes patience, practice, and dedication. Stay focused and consistent on your goals, while giving your body what it needs best from better sleep, calculated rest, smarter training, and optimal hydration and fueling. Happy training and let’s get to our finish lines strong!