By Andrea Holwegner BSc, RD “The Chocoholic Dietitian”
Keeping well hydrated while running and participating in other sports can help you perform at your best. Here are some of the key things you need to know to train at your best:
When you are dehydrated, you risk the following effects on sport and running performance:
- Increased perceived effort (you “feel” like your workout is difficult).
- Difficulty with mental focus, concentration and balance.
- Increase in muscle cramps.
- Impaired aerobic exercise performance.
- Slower anaerobic power.
The amount of fluids you need for training depends on:
- Individual differences in how much you sweat.
- The type of sport, duration, and intensity (the longer or more intense the exercise, the more you will sweat).
- Temperature of your environment (the hotter and more humid, the more you will sweat).
- Females generally have lower sweat rates than males.
Since everyone is different, here are some general guidelines to get you started:
- Exercise dulls thirst sensation. If you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. It is best to drink on a schedule.
- Research shows that if you are running or exercising at a high intensity, you may lose 0.4-1.8 litres of sweat per hour. As a general guideline try one or two cups (250-500ml) for each 30 minutes of training you do.
- One way to check if you are hydrated is to weigh yourself before and after a workout and see if your body weight has changed. If it has gone down, it is likely a sign you need to drink higher amounts in your future workouts. You need to drink 1.5 litres if you have lost one kilogram of weight.
- If you are training less than one hour in length, water is all you need. If you will be doing continuous, high intensity exercise longer than ninety minutes, or doing exercise throughout the day especially in hot temperatures, a sports drink or an alternative source of carbohydrate is needed to keep your muscles fuelled with energy.
Andrea Holwegner is president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc., media expert for theDietitians of Canada, professional speaker and independent consultant to Jugo Juice. To askAndrea your personal nutrition question, visit the “Ask the Dietitian” section of the Jugo Juicewebsite here:www.jugojuice.com.