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Hydration and recovery

young girl with bottle of mineral water (isolated on white)

Hydration - Exercise | Fitness Fan

It  is very common to see individuals  try  to train feeling fatigued before we even start the session. After see if the are suffering from any pain or discomfort, I ask them about their hydration status. More often than not it shows that athletes or clients haven’t been drinking enough. In addition, using recovery drinks can help with tiredness, as they replace salt and electrolytes that are often lost through their sweating.
If you think that you can just rely on your thirst as an indicator for when to quench your thirst, are often mistaken. The reason is there is  often a lag time between being dehydrated and then feeling thirsty. Most of the time it might be too late which will have an impact on your  performance. So why do we sweat? Sweating is a necessary process the body uses to help cool down. However, sometimes conditions can be demanding, so your body needs to release fluids on the skin to help the cooling efforts. Losing too much fluid will impact physically performance. In environments which are  hot and humid, athletes often sweat during rest periods, not just during training which most people think.

The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) Guidelines for Hydration around exercise are as follows:

•    Hydrate well in the 24hours preceding exercise.
•    Drink 400-600ml of fluid 2 hours before training
•    Drink 150-350ml of fluid every 15-20 minutes during  moderate to high level training

If you are carrying out  short duration exercises, water is a great replacement. However, the longer the physical exhaustion it is highly recommended you drink something slightly more sufficient. There are many energy and recovery drinks out there, or you can simply add a small amount of salt to your drink. By adding salt in kicks in your thirst mechanism to encourage you to drink more fluids. It is also important to make sure that you are not drinking too fast or just drinking plain water. The reason being? This will simply will increase the osmosis effect and could lead to extra urination. During training sessions, this can be rather annoying. This contrdicts trying to hydrate your body, as you are losing the fluid as rapidly as you are putting it in.

If you use a energy or recovery drink, it might be worth to look for one that has a  carbohydrate or protein content. Be aware that calorie content, has been shown not only to help repair and recover the energy loss from exercise, but it  increases the uptake of fluid into the stomach and intestine.

Foods are a great aid for helping  maintain hydration,  iceberg lettuce, celery, oranges, pears and apples all have high water content. The carbohydrates which are contained in these foods will help with water absorption into the gut.

Make sure you take a bottle to help maintain your fluid levels when you go training. It is also recommended to have a recovery snack.

Tips for being hydrated:

  • Have a water bottle with you throughout the day.
  • Aim to drink 2 litres of fluid per day as the baseline, and then add what you need for exercise.
  • Don’t drink too fast …. it is recommended  500ml every 30 minutes is adequate.
  • If you are training for more than an hour, add some salt, sugars and protein in your recovery drink or food plan.
  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise, look to replace every 0.5kg lost with 750ml of fluid.