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The Importance of Drinking Water after Exercising

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The importance of drinking water cannot be emphasized enough. It is especially important to drink water after exercise and physical exertion. When you exercise, you lose water through sweat. This is water that needs to be adequately replaced for you to maintain optimal health.

The Science

About 75% of your body's weight consists of water. This water is mostly found in your cells and the rest of it is in blood vessels and the spaces in between your cells. When you feel dehydrated this is a sign that you are losing more water than you are drinking. When you exercise, most of your water loss is through sweat.

When you sweat, your body can lose a great deal of water as it tries to cool itself off. Just a brisk walk in warm weather, for example, can make you lose a pound of water as your body tries to resume its normal temperature. You need to drink after exercising to replace this water loss.

For intense sports and exercise activities, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should start drinking fluids about 2 hours before you exercise. This hydrates you and also allows your body to excrete unneeded water. They recommend that you drink water early on in your workout and then regularly throughout your activity. It is important to drink water at the same rate as you are losing fluid through sweat.

Signs of Dehydration

Be watchful of specific signs of dehydration when exercising. These are indications that you need to increase your water intake. The most obvious is the thirst mechanism. If you are thirsty your body is need of water, pure and simple. When the body is dehydrated, it also tries to save water by decreasing the output of urine. In times of dehydration, you may notice that your urine is more yellow and concentrated.

Other signs and symptoms of dehydration during exercise are heart palpitations, muscle cramps, and nausea. Your sweating may stop and your eyes and mouth may become dry when dehydrated. If you are extremely dehydrated, you may feel confused and weak due to improper blood circulation to the brain and your other organs.

Staying Hydrated Before, During and After Exercise

The best way to protect against the possibility of dehydration is to plan ahead. If you know that you will be doing strenuous exercise, begin to drink water early in the day to make sure your body has reserves. This will also allow you to excrete any excess before your workout routine. Always have a water bottle handy as you exercise. If you have no choice but to exercise in warm or hot environments, exercise during the coolest parts of the day or after the sun goes down. Always drink water after your workout.

When you sweat profusely, your body also loses sodium and potassium. Be sure to replace these nutrients. In addition to drinking water, you can investigate sports drinks to see if one is right for you. Or replace these nutrients after your workout during your meals.

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