We all know how important water is for our daily function, which means it becomes even more critical to hydrate and restore our water supplies before, during and after exercise.

Today, Annabel and the Longevity Exercise Physiology teams at Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwick, PymbleBalmain and Neutral Bay discuss why hydrating during exercise is so important to keep your physical and mental health stable.

Hydration is important when we participate in physical activity as we need to ensure that we are replacing the fluids whilst exercising. When your body becomes dehydrated, your mind and body are unable to function at their best. Fluid within the body is imperative for maintaining blood volume, regulating body temperature, and producing muscle contractions. When you sweat during exercise, this allows your body to maintain its core temperature, and when you lose this bodily fluid, this can cause dehydration.

 

They say a loss of fluid equal to two per cent of body mass (for example a 1.4 kg loss in a 70 kg person) is enough to cause a detectable decrease in performance. The body has a good ability to tolerate low to moderate levels of dehydration, but when these levels decrease to lower than this, performance is significantly impaired. This can be seen through increased heart rate, increased perception of effort, increased fatigue, impaired cognitive function, gastrointestinal issues, and increased risk of heat illness (“Fluids in Sport – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA)”, 2022).

 

“A loss of fluid equal to two per cent of body mass is enough to cause a detectable decrease in performance”

 

There are a lot of components in terms of sweat rate and the amount of water required to re-hydrate your body. Adequate hydration levels are highly individualised and can differ between person to person. The larger the body size the more sweat that is generally produced, the fitter a person, the earlier they tend to sweat, although some people naturally sweat more than others. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to replacing fluid loss from sweat and being aware of your own hydration needs before, during, and after exercise is an important consideration for all active people. You will continue to lose fluids through both sweating and urine losses after you finish exercising, so plan to replace 125-150% of this the fluid that you’ve lost during the session over the 4-6 hours after you stop exercising (“The Importance of Hydration During Exercise | AFA Blog”, 2022).

It is also important to make sure we are timing our hydration throughout the day in accordance with your exercise sessions. When beginning an exercise session always be hydrated, as it will lower your risk of becoming dehydrated throughout the session, although avoid drinking excessive amounts as it can lead to increased urination and gastrointestinal upset. Aiming for pale-yellow coloured urine throughout the day is a useful sign of adequate hydration (“Hydration: How Much Should You Drink During Exercise? – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA)”, 2022).

 

“You will continue to lose fluids after you finish exercising, so plan to replace this fluid that you’ve lost during the session over the 4-6 hours after you stop exercising”

 

On the other hand, you can also hydrate too much. In cool weather or when the exercise intensity is low, sweat losses may be small. Drinking more fluid than necessary has the potential to interfere with performance and can be dangerous to health in several ways.  Hyponatraemia or over-hydration during exercise will dilute levels of sodium/salt in the bloodstream, leading to headaches and disorientation (“Exercise – the low-down on hydration – Better Health Channel”, 2022).

If you are struggling to keep hydrated throughout the day and in between your exercise sessions give Longevity Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Pymble, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain, Bella Vista, and Neutral Bay a call on 1300 964 002 to find out the best way to balance hydration and exercise!

 

  Written by Annabel Bergman

References:

Exercise – the low-down on hydration – Better Health Channel. (2022). Retrieved 27 April 2022, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Exercise-the-low-down-on-water-and-drinks#what-hydration-means

Fluids in Sport – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). (2022). Retrieved 27 April 2022, from https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/fuelling-recovery/fluids-in-sport/ Hydration: How Much Should You Drink During Exercise? – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). (2022). Retrieved 27 April 2022, from https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/sda-blog/hydration-during-exercise/

The Importance Of Hydration During Exercise | AFA Blog. (2022). Retrieved 27 April 2022, from https://www.fitnesseducation.edu.au/blog/health/the-importance-of-hydration-during-exercise/