The Truth About Fluids and Exercise
One of the first things you learn when you’re young and playing sport, especially in Australia, is to drink plenty of fluids – before, during, and after exercise.
But while we grow up believing this to be true, is the accepted wisdom of “more is always better” re water and fluid consumption during exercise true, or is the truth a little more complicated?
If you had to guess, how far would your body have to fall from its ideal hydration level before it began to have an effect on your physical performance? 20%? 10%? 5%?
In fact, your body starts to underperform when it is just 2% away from its ideal fluid level. That underperformance can show itself through reduced concentration, co-ordination and higher mental perceptions of how tired you are.
What Affects Your Intake?
How much fluid you need to consume depends on five major factors, which are:
- Intensity – an obvious one, the tougher your workout, the more you sweat,
- Fitness – fitter people absorb the higher requirements of physical exercise better and sweat less,
- Environment – exercise on humid days or in enclosed spaces results in a higher core body temperature, and more fluid loss,
- Size – those with higher body mass will sweat more than their lighter counterparts,
- Genetics – how much you sweat is based partly on your genetics.
With that many different factors, having a one sized fits all fluid replacement plan is impractical. However, a good starting point is to replenish 200 ml – 300 ml for every 20 minutes of strenuous exercise.
Continual replenishment at small levels is much more effective than one “big hit” during breaks or after a workout.
You can then tailor this amount if you find that you need more or less based on your specific needs.
What Should You Drink
Generally speaking, any fluids which are chilled and which contain salts (sodium) are shown to aid muscle recovery and rehydration. Sports drinks are a good example, but some are heavily flavoured and contain a lot of sugar, so should only be used when heavy workouts are undertaken, otherwise their benefits are outweighed by their drawbacks.
Of course, fluids are just one part of hitting your fitness goals, the other parts include finding the right motivation and having the right equipment and apparel to help you achieve at your highest level.
Fortunately, we can help you with the last part at Stomp Apparel, with a researched, customised and high quality range of activewear designed with you in mind. Just have a look through our extensive online catalogue to find the right fit for you.