Water is a vital part of our daily diet and contributes to every organ and function in our bodies. It is an element that makes up to 60-70% of our total body weight, and yet is often overlooked and taken for granted. Staying well hydrated is one of our body’s basic needs and for those who perform rigorous workouts or are frequent runners, hydration is essential.
Dehydration of as little as 1% body weight is enough to reduce endurance, strength and cognitive performance!
If you start your workout in a dehydrated state, it may adversely affect your performance. Water is an essential component of our muscles and keeps our joints lubricated. Without enough water, you may experience stiffness and muscle cramping – the last thing you want mid run!
- Pre-workout hydration should start up to three hours before exercise – depending on the type of activity, length of the workout, temperature and your bodily composition.
- If you are working out in mid-summer heat, or more likely -1C London temperatures, then you need to adjust your intake of water. The same applies if you are working out in a heated studio, or if your workout takes place outside.
- It is important to note that glugging down 1 liter of water just before you exercise is not the answer! If you drink too quickly you may feel nauseous and may cause your body to flush out excess nutrients through urination.
WATER INTAKE DURING WORKOUT
For those who are engaging in high intensity exercise for anything over 30 minutes, I suggest having a bottle of water to sip to reduce the risk of dehydration.
If your class/sport exceeds one hour, I suggest adding some nutrients to your water to ensure optimum performance. Suggestions include diluting some coconut water, ½ a tablespoon of molasses (molasses is also a source of iron which is often another mineral that is lost during intense activity) or some fresh fruits into your water. This should supply you with a small amount of glucose to prevent you from hitting rock bottom blood glucose levels, and as such potentially feeling faint and exhausted.
After any form of exercise, it is important to replenish your body with the fuel and nutrients it needs for recovery.
Key electrolytes and salts are lost through sweating, urinating and even breathing! Replacing these reserves should be a top priority. If you fail to adequately replace these you may develop cramps, nausea and stiffness.
Choose natural options over your typical sports drinks that are packed with additives, chemicals, colours, multiple forms of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. You can get the same if not more electrolytes from natural alternatives. Coconut water (always choose the unsweetened kind and raw if possible!) per cup has over 500mg more of Potassium and 50mg of Calcium more than your average sports drink!
Making your own healthy electrolyte drink is super easy and will ensure that you aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. These can be drunk before, during and after your workout – or even on your well-deserved day off.
COCO-UMBER ELECTROLYE DRINK
- 250ml raw coconut water
- 150 ml filtered water
- ½ cucumber – sliced
- Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt or Celtic salt
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- ½ tbsp of molasses/Grade A maple syrup/coconut blossom syrup – if your workout has been strenuous or you are not able to have a snack/meal in the 30 minutes prior to your workout add this.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large water bottle/jug and refrigerate overnight or drink asap and enjoy!
- Ismail, I., Singh, R. and Sirisinghe, R.G., (2007). Rehydration with sodium-enriched coconut water after exercise-induced dehydration.
- Kalman, D., Feldman, S., Krieger, D. and Bloomer, R. (2012). Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), p.1.
- Maughan, R.J., (2003). Impact of mild dehydration on wellness and on exercise performance. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57, pp.S19-S23.