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How to Drink Water Effectively during Exercise

Jan 27, 2010

If you plan on exercising regularly, you need to know how to drink water effectively in order to prevent your body from getting dehydrated. Water is essential for anyone who works out, because it helps rid your body of the toxins that are released from your muscles during a typical workout session. It also helps replenish your body because of the amount that you sweat during a typical workout. Your muscles can get dehydrated and start to cramp if you don't take in enough water. That said, you shouldn't wait until you start working out to get water into your system. There are three times that you should drink water if you plan on working out.

How to Drink Water before Exercise

Waiting until you're ready to work out to drink water is a big mistake. None of the water that you drink when you start working out makes it into your system quick enough to help your body. Instead, you need to drink water two to three hours before you work out in order to hydrate your body properly. This gives your body plenty of time to get hydrated and prepare for a workout. So when you start sweating at the beginning of a workout, all of that water is actually from the reserve you've built up ahead of time.

How to Drink Water during Exercise

Once you've hydrated yourself before exercise, you need to make sure that you stay hydrated while you exercise. As you sweat, the water that you drank before your workout will be lost. Therefore, you need to make sure that you drink about 8 ounces of water for every 10 minutes that you work out. That doesn't mean that you need to stop every 10 minutes to drink. But it does mean that you should be hydrating yourself during every short break that you get (you can even sip water during a run if you have to) in order to get enough water back into your system. Avoid taking huge gulps of water, though, and avoid taking in too much water during a single break. For instance, you may feel full and hurt your workout if you chug 30 ounces of water during a break. Instead, gradually take in cold water throughout your exercise routine, because cold water is absorbed more quickly into your system than warm water or room temperature water. This is the most effective way to drink water during exercise.

How to Drink Water after Exercise

Once you finish working out, your body still needs water to replenish the levels that you lost during your exercise. In order to help your body regroup, you need to drink plenty afterward as well. In addition to water, you should try to drink a beverage that contains electrolytes, as you lose many of these during exercise. Regardless, you need to get fluids into your system to make sure that you help the muscle healing process and stay hydrated later on. And again, make sure you're drinking cold water in order to help it get into your system quickly.

Drinking plenty of water is the best thing that you can do for your body if you plan on exercising regularly. By staying hydrated, you'll be protecting your internal organs and preventing your muscles from getting damaged by dehydration. So if you plan on exercising effectively in the future, make sure that you drink water before, during and after your exercise.

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