There’s so much information out there about hydration; conflicting advice, complicated strategies and general noise. With water making up roughly 60% of our bodies, hydration is super important, especially whilst exercising. Too much or too little can be equally as bad, so it’s important to understand your own body and how it works to figure out how much you need to be consuming.
Below are our basic rules to follow
- Drink early, and drink often. While we are sleeping our bodies don’t receive any water, so often you wake up feeling thirsty in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. Start your day with a large glass of water, and keep a water bottle to hand throughout the day, sipping regularly. Not only will this benefit any sporting activities, it keeps you alert and can help prevent that mid-afternoon headache/ slump.
- An hour or two before exercise, try and drink around 500ml of water or sports drink. If you are exercising for less than an hour, water will suffice, but if you are going for longer than that it’s a good idea to take on something with a good mix of carbohydrates to fuel you through the extra kilometres and electrolytes like potassium and sodium to help stave off cramps and nausea.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking. Sweat comes from fluid in your blood, so as you sweat your blood becomes thicker and hard for your heart to pump. This, in turn, makes your body temperature rise, creating the need for more water!
- If you are at high altitude, your body acclimatises by speeding up your breathing and increasing urine output. These two combined (breathing harder forces you to exhale more water vapour) can lead to dehydration, so be sure to compensate for this with extra fluids.
- Practise, practise, practise. If you have an event coming up – be it a race, a sportive, a long-distance swim – make sure you have practised your hydration (and nutrition) in advance. Try a few electrolyte mixes (we like Orbana – all natural, stimulant free and full of antioxidants) and see what works for you.
It’s straight forward but important advice – and we’d love to hear your top tips for staying hydrated!