Many people forget the importance of proper fluid intake, especially in the winter.
When you start to get thirsty you are only about 1% dehydrated, therefore just drinking when you are thirsty can work to replace lost fluid in sedentary people that are in controlled climates and have easy access to water, but is not necessarily ideal. For an athletic population even being dehydrated by 1% can hinder your performance. That is why it is so important to maintain optimal hydration levels when participating in physical activity.
In preparation, you should drink at least 500ml of fluid 2-3 hours before activity and another 250ml 10-15 minutes before your activity. This fluid is needed to achieve optimum hydration prior to exercise.
During the activity, you need to maintain adequate hydration levels. To do this you should have a regular intake of fluid during the activity of around 250ml every 15 minutes. Do not wait until you are thirsty because by that time you are already dehydrated and your performance will suffer. For activities that are less than an hour in duration stick to plan old water as your choice of fluid replacement. For activities that are longer than one hour you can choose a sport drink that is going to replace fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes.
During exercise you do not burn enough fat for any type of noticeable difference on the scale. If you do weight yourself before and after a workout session and you have decreased in weight, you have lost a lot of fluid and you need to re-hydrate. The best way to optimally re-hydrate after your activity is to weigh yourself before and after your activity and for each kilogram lost consume 1 litre of water. Many people mistake the weight lost during exercise as fat loss when it is actually fluid loss. Do not ignore this lost fluid.
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