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Keep Yourself Well-Hydrated In Order To Ensure Peak Performance and Overall Health

Apr 24, 2008
An important component of keeping your body in top physical condition is your body fluid level. Without your body being in top physical condition, your workout will not be as effective and you will be more prone to injury.

As you exercise, your internal body temperature rises, leading to the body releasing internal fluid to the outside via millions of sweat glands and heightened respiration. As the high temperature sweat evaporates off your skin, heat is taken with it, allowing your body to cool down again.

That internal temperature regulation system is vital to remaining healthy, but losing too much of that fluid can also be problematic. Strenuous activity that is conducted during workouts can lead to a person losing 3 quarts or more of fluid per hour. As you lose more fluid, the performance of your body decreases.

Your cardiovascular system can also suffer from excessive fluid loss, as dizziness, muscle cramps, and even heat stroke can result.

Professional experts recommend that you regularly replace water and electrolytes (which includes sodium, potassium, and other minerals,) by drinking a sports drink (like Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) before, during, and after a workout. How much sports drink you should consume will depend on your body weight and type, your tendency to sweat, the external temperature you are working out in, and other variables, but here are some general guidelines to follow.

You should drink around 18oz (0.53 liter) a few hours before beginning your workout, then another 10oz (0.3 liter) around 15 minutes before starting your warm-up routine. For every hour you work out, you should drink at least 30oz (0.89 liter) more every hour you work out. Finally, after cooling down for a few minutes after your workout, you should drink another 20oz (0.59 liter.)

You should avoid caffeine-containing drinks while re-hydrating, as they will actually cause you to lose liquid due to the fact that they have a diuretic effect on the body. You should also avoid drinking alcohol for at least a few hours after a strenuous workout as well; not only does alcohol contain a high number of calories, it can also disrupt the smooth rate of cool-down as your body temperature changes.

You should avoid sports drinks that have high amounts of sugar, as you'll be putting back a lot of calories you've burned off in your workout. Too much sugar can also unbalance cardiovascular regulation after a vigorous workout. This means you should limit your intake of soft drinks and concentrated fruit juices. You should also limit your intake of diet soft drinks, as they have a high level of carbon dioxide, which is not ideal for the best recovery from your workout.

You should look for drinks that replace magnesium (around 100mg per liter,) sodium, and potassium. Sodium and potassium are both essential elements for proper functioning of the heart and for regulating cellular electrical activity.

Isotonic drinks make excellent replacement fluids because they have been designed to closely match the body's natural concentrations of needed vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, which allows the body to absorb them much more easily, and as a result, quicker into your bloodstream, allowing you to recover from your workouts faster.

By proper rehydration, you can ensure peak performance throughout your workouts, avoid medical problems, and maintain your overall health.
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