Myth… when exercising I should only drink when I am thirsty, right? WRONG

With the summer right upon us, you should take great care in hydrating your body regularly.  If you wait to drink until you feel thirsty, it’s too late. Thirst is a symptom of dehydration. Dehydration decreases plasma volume. With less blood getting to the skin, the systems that control heat dissipation fail. Once this happens, an athlete overheats even more quickly. Performance levels drop. And things can get dangerous. Symptoms of dehydration include muscle cramping, excessive sweating, dark urine or infrequent urination, weakness, nausea, rapid heart rate, headache, light-headedness, increased body core temperature, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. In extreme cases, the consequences of dehydration can be fatal. It makes no difference if you are working out in cold or hot weather, inside or outside, in arid or humid climates, on a ski slope or in a swimming pool – hydration is vitally important.

You should plan to hydrate before, during and after your workout. Plain water is good, but some athletes prefer sports drinks that hydrate as well as replace electrolytes lost in sweating and carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, fructose and glucose polymers. Although it is worth to mention that with a proper and balanced diet, expensive electrolyte drinks is not a absolute necessity, and allot of times it is even a waste of money. Some experts believe it is best to drink water before your workout to hydrate your body, and sports drinks later during your workout when your body needs the carbohydrates and is prepared to handle and use the sugars you’re taking in. There’s a wide variety of sugar drinks on the market, but no matter what you drink, if you drink it cold, it will absorb more quickly in your body.

Happy training, see all this and more at www.stretchingsa.co.za

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