Is it advisable to hydrate before, during or after physical activity? How much should we drink? When is the consumption of isotonic drinks indicated and how should we ingest them? In this post, we have elaborated a list of essential recommendations to achieve a correct hydration when we exercise.
Physical activity (PA) is essential for health, as it helps to feel good psychologically (due to the secretion of endorphins) and to be physically fit. Among the benefits of PA are the improvement of blood circulation and cardiopulmonary capacity, the maintenance of an adequate body composition and the reduction of abdominal fat, the improvement in the capacity of blood coagulation and lipid profile (increase of good cholesterol ‘HDL’ and decrease of total cholesterol and triglycerides), as well as a better regulation of intestinal function.
Regular physical activity (carried out at least 3-5 times/week with a minimum duration of 30-60´cada session) is associated with lower mortality from chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, cancer, lung diseases, obesity or metabolic syndrome), improves the management and control of people with diabetes mellitus and hypertension. When we perform AF we must take into account a fundamental aspect: hydration. This is a factor that we often neglect and that is why we wanted to offer a series of practical tips in order to carry out correct hydration habits during the practice of PA:
Water is your main ally in preventing dehydration and an increase in body temperature (which would, therefore, be a limiting factor in human performance).
You shouldn’t wait to be thirsty. Start drinking water 1-2 hours before practicing PA.
Take breaks every 15-20 minutes during the activity to drink a few small sips of water. Take it cool (15 and 21 ºC), adding ice cubes. Especially when practicing AF in summer and on hot days above 25-30ºC.
After sport, drink as much water as you have lost weight.
To know how much to drink while performing AF, we must weigh ourselves before and after, the weight loss is the amount of liquid to replace.
In hot environments (above 25 ºC) it is important to take a drink with mineral salts since our body loses more of these, mainly sodium, but also potassium and chlorine. With regard to sodium consumption during PA, between 0.5-0.7 g/l should be taken, which is equivalent to about 1.5-2 g of table salt.
If we carry out more than 1 hour of physical activity, we should consume drinks for sportsmen, called isotonic drinks. These should have the following characteristics:
Do not drink more than 0.9-1 l of water/hour, otherwise, the body is not able to absorb the drink quickly and this remains in the stomach making it difficult to perform the AF, therefore, we must take small doses of about 200-250 ml, to increase absorption.
A good method to avoid dehydration is to take peeled fruit (more than 80% of its content is water). To take fruits after the AF can be adequate, for its contribution of water + carbohydrates, in addition to being cardio-healthy from the bromatological point of view (for the contribution of vitamins and minerals).