Post-Workout Hydration – To Drink, Or Not To Drink?
We all know how important staying hydrated is. Nonetheless, there always seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding how much water to drink after a workout, or whether one should even drink any water immediately after at all.
Although the exact amount of water you need to consume depends on the type of exercise you are conducting, as well as your weight, height, gender and age, as a basic rule of thumb, you should drink -
15-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercising
8-10 ounces during your warm up
7-10 ounces every 15 minutes while exercising
8 ounces within 30 minutes of wrapping up
An alterative method to calculate how much water you should consume after a workout, weigh yourself before and after exercising. For every pound you lose, replace it with 16-20 ounces of fluid.
Why Hydrate After A Workout?
When you workout intensely, you sweat nearly 4% of your body weight every hour. This results in plasma volume decreasing, which means your heart has less blood to distribute, which speeds up your heart rate to maintain enough blood flow for your body. However, drinking water after exercising reduces the amount of time it takes for your heart to get back to it’s normal tempo.
Go Beyond Just Water
When you sweat it out, you are also losing sodium and potassium – these nutrients also need to be replaced. Consider guzzling down a sports drink, which has 120-170 milligrams of sodium per 8 ounces. Other options also include tart cherry juice, which aids in muscle recovery, and chocolate milk, which has protein, sodium, calcium and carbs. Coconut water, although not great on sodium content, does have a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
Precautions To Take
Do not drink ice-cold water immediately after exercising because it can shock your digestive system and other internal organs. Your body’s temperature increases after exercising, so it needs some time to be able to absorb ice cold water smoothly.
Also, do not over-drink water after exercising – it can lead to hyponatremia. Sometimes, marathon runners end up drink several gallons of water during and after exercising, which can be dangerous.
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