Week 3: Fluids – Are you drinking enough?
Exercise feels tougher when you are dehydrated. Dehydration will lead to tiredness and reduced performance. The best strategy is to keep hydrated throughout the day instead of drinking large amounts just before you exercise. Aim for at least 8 glasses of fluid daily and more in hot weather or days that you exercise. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty, by this time you may have already lost approximately 2 percent of your body weight as water. It is essential that we drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.
Tips to increase your daily fluid intake:
- Keep a bottle of water in your work area
- Carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day
- If you don’t like the taste of tap water, try bottled water or add a cordial to flavour
- Drink herbal and fruit teas
- Have a water break once every hour
What type of fluids should I drink?
Water is a great sports drink. However, when exercise lasts greater than one hour, fluids containing some salt and carbohydrate (e.g. isotonic sports drinks) are useful as they provide energy and help replace salt lost while sweating. After the race, fluids should contain some carbohydrates, which will help top up energy levels.
|Time||Amount||Type of fluid|
|BeforeIt is essential to be fully hydrated over the 2-3 hours before starting exercise.||2-4 glasses (400-600ml)||· Water· Limit alcohol and caffeine drinks (e.g. tea and coffee) before exercising|
|DuringIt is important to drink during exercise lasting greater than 1 hour, especially in warm weather||150-200ml (a small glass) every 15-20 minutes||· Water (if workout is less than 1 hour)· Isotonic sports drink or diluted juice (if working out for greater than 1 hour) e.g. Lucozade Sport, Powerade· A good tip is to practice drinking fluids while exercising before the race so your body can become used to it|
|After (over the first 30 minutes)||500ml (little and often)||· Water (if workout is less than 1 hour)· Isotonic sports drink, diluted fruit juice or milk (if working out for greater than 1 hour). Similar to isotonic drinks, low fat milk naturally contains electrolytes including sodium and potassium which are lost in sweat. It also contains protein to help repair and build muscle.|
|After initial 30 minutes post exercise||- Drinking fluids after exercise will replace fluids lost while sweating.- The amount of fluid needed depends on the length of exercise and the amount of fluid lost while sweating|
For cheaper alternative to commercial isotonic sports drinks, why not try this homemade version.
- 200mls fruit cordial
- 800mls water
- A pinch of salt
Next week we will discuss ‘Food Facts vs. Food Myths’
Read our previous nutrition and fitness blogs: