Good hydration means getting the right amount of water on a daily basis. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. A simple way to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated is to check your urine. If your urine is usually colorless or light yellow, you are likely well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine can be a sign of dehydration.
The American Council on Exercise recommends
*Drink 17-20 oz of water 2-3 hours before exercise
*Drink 8 oz of water 20-30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm up
*Drink 7-10 oz of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise
*Drink 8 oz of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise
What about sports drinks? For most people, water is all that is needed to stay hydrated. However if you will be exercising at a high intensity for longer than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful. The calories, potassium and other nutrients in sports drinks can provide energy and electrolytes to help you perform for a longer period of time. Choose your sports drink wisely. They are often high in calories from added sugar and may contain high levels of sodium. Some sports drinks contain caffeine and excess amounts of caffeine may cause a diuretic effect on your body. This means that you may have to urinate more often.
Be alert for symptoms of dehydration: dizziness, lightheaded feeling, nausea/vomiting, muscle cramps, lack of sweating, dry mouth, hard/fast heart beat.
Symptoms of severe dehydration can include: mental confusion, muscle fatigue and weakness, loss of consciousness. Seek immediate medical attention for any of these symptoms.