Staying hydrated is vital during any physical activities, but can often be an afterthought. Not staying hydrated gets people into trouble, particularly when undergoing serious physical exertion like trail running, cycling, and team sports. It’s incredibly easy to become dehydrated during these times. Unfortunately, the body usually does not do a very good job of signaling dehydration until it’s too late. At Halo Headband, we believe it’s important to make sure to take preventative measures to maintain hydration when exercising.
Hydration needs can be broken down into three segments – pre-exercise, during exercise, and post-exercise. Taking care of your body’s hydration needs during each segment will help keep you healthy and fit.
This period is all about “priming the pump” so to speak, and preparing your body for what will likely be a sudden reduction in water content via sweat. To prepare, drink about 16 oz (2 cups) of water 2-3 hours before exercising. Also, consider drinking another cup about half an hour before exercising if the exercise is particularly strenuous or in hot conditions. Don’t drink immediately before exercise – this can make you feel bloated and sick. During this time, you may also want to weigh yourself so that you can compare your weight to your post-exercise weight later.
Steadily replenishing lost water is the order of the day here. That doesn’t mean drinking constantly; drinking too much can result in a rare but deadly condition called hyponatremia (low sodium levels due to dilution). It means drinking roughly every 20 minutes or so – about 6-8 oz of fluid each time. When you are engaged in a short workout (less than 40 minutes), just drink water. For longer workouts, you’ll probably want to consider a sports drink containing salt and sugar to help replenish lost energy and lost salt content through sweat. Sports drinks also typically have a higher diffusion rate than water, meaning that the nutrients will transfer into your blood stream faster than usual.
If you weighed yourself before you started exercising, post exercise hydration is easy. Simply weigh yourself again, and drink about a cup of water for each pound lost. Remember to eat after exercise as well.
So that’s all you really need to do to keep yourself safely hydrated during exercise. Of course, these are just general guidelines – there are many variables that might mean you need to drink more or less. Affecting factors include temperature (hotter equals more fluid loss), sweating pattern (Sweat a lot? Drink more, and try our Halo II), and the length of time you are exercising. You will have to experiment with some of the numbers provided here to find exactly what is right for your body, but these are good general guidelines to start with. And of course, if you’re having trouble keeping sweat out of your eyes and face, try Halo Headbands for the most effective sweatbands available.