Health fitness and performance is on the minds of anyone who invests their precious time exercising. Let’s face it, people want fitness results; and they want them right now! One of the most overlooked variables for improving fitness performance is proper hydration. How many times do you hear a fitness enthusiast say they need to hydrate themselves prior to, and during exercise to improve fitness performance? Not many!
The fact is studies show 46% of people beginning a workout session are not optimally hydrated. The fitness buffs who are not properly hydrated are more prone to have health fitness and performance difficulties. Another words, they simply can’t workout at the same efficiency level someone who is optimally hydrated can. What suffers most is intensity, and duration of exercise training.
Some researchers suggest those constantly out of hydration balance may show an increase risk of kidney stones, infections, cancer, and other diseases. Amongst all these possible results seen is also a decrease in athletic performance which leads to rather poor fitness results.
Are you drinking enough fluid to positively affect your health fitness and performance? The average sedentary human being drinks about 16 cups (men), and 11 cups (women) of fluid each day. Now the keyword here is sedentary. If you are a fitness workout warrior training at a high intensity, in a hot environment, you will most definitely need to improve your hydration. According to studies, sedentary people have a tendency to get enough fluid. It is the exercise participants who are at risk.
If you enter the gym not properly hydrated, and continue to dehydrate yourself by perspiring throughout the workout, there are many physiological ramifications. Your fitness performance and results will suffer due to a reduction in blood volume, thicker blood, an increased heart rate, and greater difficulty for you body to lose heat.
So how do you maintain optimal fluid balance during fitness training sessions? Below I have listed the top strategies to maintain optimal hydration, thus, improving your health fitness and performance.
1. Make sure you are properly hydrated before you begin your fitness workout. A good rule of thumb is to observe color of your urine. If your urine is dark like apple juice, you are not adequately hydrated. Very white like water is a sign of over hydration. However, if your urine is pale, not dark, you are most likely in water balance.
2. During exercise, pay close attention to the amount of fluid you lose. It is important to replace it during the exercise session. Yes, you can wait until after exercise, but your health fitness and performance will thank you if you consume fluids while training.
3. Don’t wait until you get thirsty. I recommend consuming a small amount of fluids prior to, during, and following intense physical exercise. Your bodyweight should be close to the same before, during, and after workouts.
4. The greater the exercise intensity, and duration, the more fluids are needed. Pay close attention to your perspiration rate, and the weather conditions.
What are the best fluids to consume for maintaining optimal water balance? The general rule of thumb is low intensity exercises like walking in mild weather calls for water. When exercise demand is increased to moderate levels, fitness water is recommended for peak health fitness and performance. When your exercise demands are very high, sports drinks such as Gatorade are the preferred fuel. Sports drinks are comprised of a small amount of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and flavor enhancers. Thus, the higher the exercise intensity, duration, environmental conditions, and sweat rate, the more concentrated fluid is needed for replenishment. Not all hydration products are created equal. So pick the ones for the proper exercise demands, and sweat loss. Your goals should be to only replace the fluid lost. Don’t over saturate yourself with fluids.
Just by following the advice in this article and maintaining proper water balance, your health fitness and performance will be positively improved. Think fluids, they are a fitness performance and results catalyst.