FITNESS Staying hydrated is the mantra to work on this season.JAYANTHI MURAHARI
How precious is water? Probably the most precious, because there is no meaningful form of life without water. Our body’s dependence on water is reflected in the fact that a person can live many days without food but can’t survive more than three days without water. In summer staying adequately hydrated is vital. A person approximately needs two-three litres of water a day. But this is lost through urine, breathing, sweat and stools. While staying hydrated is essential for everyone, it is particularly important for those who exercise. Water is the most important nutrient for exercisers; it regulates body temperature, helps lubricate joints, helps blood transport nutrients and removes toxins and waste from the body.
While you workout:
- Do not wait till you get thirsty; thirst is an indication that you are already on the way to dehydration.
- Make sure you have 250-500 ml of water 20-40 minutes before your workout.
- Carry a sipper and take a mouthful every five minutes without disturbing your workout. This will improve performance.
- Drink plenty of water post workout.
- Cold water will empty the stomach faster and get easily absorbed than hot or regular water. Cold water will also help bring down core temperature that increases during exercise.
- If the intensity is high or if the duration of the workout is more than 60 minutes it’s always better to go in for a drink with electrolytes to maintain the body’s fluid-electrolyte balance.
- Given the wide variability in climatic conditions; individual sweat rates, and duration and intensity of activity, it is difficult to generalise about hydration. But there are two simple methods to check your level: Weigh yourself before and after exercise. This will help to know how much you’ve lost. And, make sure that your urine is clear. The only exception is the first time in the morning, which can be a slightly yellowish. Remember some supplements/medication may darken the colour.
- While a moderate amount of caffeine will not do much harm, alcohol sure does. Alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it removes more water from the body leading to dehydration. So it cannot be considered as fluid intake. It also interferes with muscle recovery.
- Dehydration can also decrease performance significantly. Studies show that athletes who lose as little as two per cent of their body weight through sweat have a drop in blood volume. This causes the heart to work harder to circulate blood and also leads to muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue and other heat-related sickness.
- Last but not the least, water is the single most important measure to prevent kidney stones; of which there are an increasing number of complaints these days.
So be good to yourself; drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids and enhance metabolic functions. While just plain water is fine you can also hydrate yourself with fruit and veggies like watermelon, musk melon and cucumber. And can anything beat our nimboo panni and lassi? So let’s find the nearest watering hole and say cheers (to a glass of water).
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