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Water is an absolute must for staying hydrated, especially when you're working on your fitness and losing the water you've stored up by sweating it off. Without the right amount of hydration, your ability to perform in a workout class or jog around the neighborhood can decline quickly. In fact, that thirsty feeling you start to get in the middle of exercising can mean you're already dehydrated. Eek! Because water comprises 75% of all muscle tissue and 10% of fatty tissue, even the smallest hint of dehydration can have a huge impact on your performance.
Before and after a workout, make sure you’re drinking enough water during the day. It keeps you hydrated and feeling great. And what exactly is the magic number? Drinking too much water can slow you down, so drink enough to feel good, but not too much to slow you down or get in your way of getting the most out of class.
Drink water during your workout. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 7 to 10 ounces (200 to 300 milliliters) of water every 20 minutes in your workout.
Vigorous exercise like this can deplete your supply of glycogen that the muscle cells use up. If you can’t take a break to refuel–say, you’re running a marathon–you can turn to those bright-colored sports drinks for a burst of much-needed carbs and sodium.
Drink enough H2O throughout your workout to prevent dehydration and not drink more than you’re sweating out. Weigh yourself without clothes before and after a typical workout. If your weight changes more than two percent of your starting weight, you should plan to drink more water throughout your workout in the future.
Drink 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before a workout. 20-30 minutes before, drink another 8 ounces. Within 30 minutes of completing the workout routine, drink another 8 ounces and continue to gulp down 16-24 ounces for each pound you lost during the workout to regain the water you sweated out.
What if you’re in a class that doesn’t take water breaks? Do you die? Well not quite. If your normal routine lasts about an hour or less and doesn’t involve sweating it out in hot or humid weather, you can probably make it without a few sips of water. The average-sized healthy person can produce as much as 32 ounces of sweat in a 60-minute session of vigorous indoor exercise, and while that might sound intense you shouldn’t be affected if you’ve properly prepared throughout the day by, you guessed it, drinking the recommended amount of water.
Is it time for a drink? See if you should hydrate with a gross test beforehand: examine your urine. If it's dark with a strong smell, consider drinking throughout your exercise routine, but if it's a clear to light yellow you can leave the water bottle in your gym bag. Just don't forget to rehydrate after class! Water encourages your body to move waste products out of the joints and muscles, reduces pain, improves flexibility and decreases recovery time.
It's important to stay hydrated throughout the workout. Prepare during the day by drinking the daily recommended amount of water and fuel your muscles after class with another glass or two. If you really don't want to sip in class, you can probably skip it as long as you've been hydrating steadily throughout the day and aren't feeling thirsty in class.
Listen to your body. If it’s calling for water, take a sip or two.