When we exercise, our body uses varied fuels (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) to produce energy for our muscles to work. In this process, significant heat is produced that increases body temperature. To prevent excessive heat buildup, skin blood flow, and sweat secretion increased. Sweat evaporation is the primary channel to dissipate the excess heat. This process also results in a loss of body water and electrolytes.
Thus, the recommendations often emphasise the importance of adequate fluid intake before, during, and after exercise.
Dehydration degrades exercise performance. Studies examining exercise interventions have also reported impairments in cognition (like concentration, focus & motivation). It is reported that dehydration has a negative effect on mood and also leads to tiredness, confusion, fatigue, anger, or depression.
Also, inadequate fluid intake, over-hydration or hypo-hydration, can have serious health consequences (e.g. exertional heat stroke due to hypo-hydration or gastric discomfort due to over-hydration of electrolyte deficit fluid), including death.
Fluid Replacement Recommendations:
- Amount of fluid replacement during recovery should exceed what is lost during exercise to compensate for water loss.
- Keep a bottle of water beside you when exercising.
- Addition of sodium (not in excessive amounts) to a rehydration beverage is beneficial for the maintenance of fluid balance.
- Fluid temperature influences the amount consumed, therefore, a cool beverage is recommended.
- You can avoid fluid-balance problems by drinking when you feel thirsty during and after exercise and eating a healthy diet.
- Hydrate yourself well before beginning your exercise session. Drink one glass of water 10-20 mins before exercise.
- Post-exercise hydration- Physically active individuals should rehydrate within 2 hours of physical activity
- Personal cues like thirst sensation, void frequency, and urine colour are valuable indicators over the course of a day or between days for obtaining a relative hydration assessment for an individual.
- Alcohol should be avoided in the post-exercise period as alcoholic beverages do not rehydrate an active person.
What should your post-exercise hydration drink contain?
Drinking plain water is ineffective in maintaining fluid balance during recovery. Your drink should contain:
- Carbohydrate (glucose)
Rehydration beverages you can have:
- Milk and milk-based products are seen to enhance post-exercise rehydration.
Milk contains sodium, potassium, carbohydrate, and protein- constituents that may all independently positively influence rehydration. Hence, it is one of the best beverages to have after exercise.
E.g. Add some fruits and nuts to milk and make a smoothie.
- A glass of vegetable juice containing spinach, kale, amla, beetroot, carrot, etc.
- Natural refreshing drinks like coconut water are also an amazing remedy to restore electrolyte balance.
So Motivate yourself for exercise, Hydrate yourself & keep going to stay fit !!!
- Brad, Roy. (2013).Exercise and Fluid Replacement: Brought to you by the American College of Sports Medicine www.acsm.org, ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal.17 (4).3 DOI:10.1249/FIT.0b013e318296bc4b
- Evans, G H. et. al. (2017). Optimizing the restoration and maintenance of fluid balance after exercise-induced dehydration. The Journal of Applied Physiology doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00745.2016
- Backes, T. P., & Fitzgerald, K. (2016). Fluid consumption, exercise, and cognitive performance. Biology of Sport, 33(3), 291–296. https://doi.org/10.5604/20831862.1208485
- McDermott, B. P., Anderson, S. A., Armstrong, L. E., Casa, D. J., Cheuvront, S. N., Cooper, L., Kenney, W. L., O'Connor, F. G., & Roberts, W. O. (2017). National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for the Physically Active. Journal of athletic training, 52(9), 877–895. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-52.9.02
- Casa, Douglas. (2000). National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. 35(2):212-224
Written By: Gargi P. Shah