What to Drink While Working Out to Stay Hydrated

Would it surprise you to learn that fully 69% of American adults are either overweight or obese? Whether you consider yourself among that number or not, the fact remains that exercise is incredibly important to our health. It isn’t just good for weight loss; it’s beneficial to overall health, especially as we get older.

There are several factors that determine how effective our workouts are. One of those is how we hydrate! Read on to find out more about what to drink while working out.

First Things First: Why Is Hydration So Vital?

When you work out, you sweat. And when you sweat, you need to replace that lost fluid by drinking something hydrating. Otherwise, you could become dehydrated.

Dehydration can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headaches
  • Sudden, inexplicable changes in mood
  • Confusion and slower reaction time
  • Intense thirst and dry, cracked lips
  • Muscle cramps
  • Hallucinations

Without proper hydration, your body loses its ability to regulate your body temperature and heart rate. As you can imagine, this could result in dizziness, fainting, and rapid heartbeat. Left untreated, severe dehydration can cause brain damage and even death.

Knowing How Much Hydration Is Enough

How do you know how much to drink while exercising? Your needs are different from others’ needs. How much fluid you lose, and should therefore replace, depends on your health, your level of fitness, the clothing you have on, and the intensity of exercise.

People with health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, or heart disease require more hydration. So do athletes, but also people who are heavier or bigger.

Is it true that you should simply listen to your body and drink when you get thirsty? Actually, no. By the time you begin to feel thirst, you’re already started to get dehydrated.

You should drink about 17-20 ounces of fluid about two hours before your workout. Then continue to hydrate through the duration of your sweat sesh, and afterward.

What To Drink While Working Out

Good news: there is a range of choices when it comes to good workout drinks. First up is plain old water, which is inexpensive, readily available, and refreshing.

Should you drink filtered water, bottled water, or tap water? Again, that depends, so take the time to learn more about your H2O options. If you want a little pizzazz with your fluids, consider flavored water, either commercial or homemade.

Sports drinks are another good choice, especially for serious athletes. These contain electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride. You can also consider coconut water, a natural source of electrolytes.

Lastly, some people swear by chocolate milk as the perfect post-workout quaff. Sounds like pretty good motivation to finish strong!

Keep That Sports Bottle Handy!

Steer clear of beverages like soda and juice — which are low in sodium, high in carbs, and often packed with sugar. Caffeine is another no-no since it is itself a diuretic that will cause you to lose rather than replace fluids. Stick to water, coconut water, milk, and sports drinks for best results.

Now that you know what to drink while working out, get some more informative exercise tips by checking out the health section of our blog!