How Does Drinking Water Impact Exercise?
Mar 1st 2023
As we continue the start of a new year, many families are making their New Year's resolutions reflect their desire to participate in more physical activity. Whether their goal is to gain more muscle, lose weight, or live a healthier lifestyle, exercising regularly is an excellent goal to maintain year-round. Luckily, with the proper hydration guidelines, you can make exercising a regular part of your daily routine while maintaining healthy drinking habits.
Understanding the importance of drinking the appropriate amount of water while exercising is vital for those interested in leading a healthy lifestyle.
Health Benefits of Water for Exercise
Water plays a significant role in our body's everyday functions that help us concentrate, make decisions, and exercise in ways that move us toward healthy goals. While we may not recognize how water benefits our movements, understanding the importance of drinking enough water when exercising can help make consuming more fluids easier.
The most vital health benefits of drinking water during your workout include the following:
- Lubricating your joints: Stretching, running, and lifting can come more easily to those who drink enough water before, during, and after exercising. Getting enough fluids into the body can help lubricate our joints so they can move fluidly when working toward a new personal record in the gym.
- Regulating body temperature: Staying hydrated can keep you from overheating. Sweating and moving quickly can make it easy to feel like your body is warming up. Luckily, drinking water during an exercise can cool you down so you can comfortably finish your goals for the day.
- Transporting nutrients: Getting in a nutritious meal before exercising is an excellent step in the right direction toward a healthy lifestyle. Drinking water before, during, and after your workout can help the body transport these essential nutrients to your organs so you can feel your best all day long.
Dangers of Dehydration
While drinking enough water during an exercise regimen can provide the numerous health benefits listed above, you are also avoiding the risk of dehydration by getting enough fluids in your system before, during, and after a workout. Dehydration occurs when your body uses more water than you drink and can make your internal organs, muscles, and joints function slowly or weaken.
During a workout, your body needs water to move and sweat. Without the necessary amount of water, you may experience the following symptoms of dehydration:
- Extreme thirst
- Muscle cramps
- Heat cramps and injuries
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fainting and loss of consciousness
- High heart rate and low blood pressure
While everyone's body requires different amounts of water to stay comfortably hydrated based on various physical factors, you should drink enough water before you feel thirsty since these symptoms can affect your daily routine, even after working out.
What Factors Can Impact Dehydration?
Dehydration can affect people differently. Those interested in working out more frequently may have a different likelihood of dehydration than those who exercise daily. These differences in symptoms or causes depend on each individual's physique, environment, and exercise regime.
Take a look at the following factors that can increase the risk of dehydration.
1. Heat and Humidity
Even in the cold winter months, humidity levels can impact your body's fluids, leading to dehydration. Humidity refers to the water in the air. It decreases in the winter due to the lower temperatures and increases in the summer. When humidity is lower, our skin cannot retain moisture as well. Additionally, the cold diminishes the thirst reflex, making it easier to become dehydrated.
We tend to sweat more during the summer due to the hot temperatures. Spending time outdoors or in tight, heated quarters can cause dehydration to occur faster due to fluid loss from sweating.
To avoid dehydration year-round, you can run humidifiers during the colder months and dehumidifiers during the summer while drinking a healthy amount of water each day.
2. Body Sweats and Water Loss
Being outside in the heat or exercising regularly can lead to excessive sweating. While many of us see sweating as a sign of a successful workout, this physical occurrence also represents water loss in the body. Some health conditions, including hyperhidrosis, can also lead to excessive sweating, where the body loses more fluids than it receives, causing dehydration.
Even in balanced humidity levels, sweating decreases the body's water content. Staying hydrated throughout the day while exercising inside or outside can help lower the impact of excessive sweating on the body so we can enjoy the benefits of working out.
3. Diet and Exercise Programs
A 2019 fluid and nutrition study found that those who regularly participate in sports or exercise regimens barely replace two-thirds of the fluids they lose from sweating when they drink water. Sweating and being outside in the heat during exercise cause the body to lose a significant amount of fluids quickly.
The same study discovered that people who participate in healthy exercise programs regularly have a steadier and healthier relationship with an appropriate amount of water intake but still need to consume more liquids to increase fluid levels in the body. Hydration can come from drinking or eating foods with high water content.
To ensure your body remains appropriately hydrated, drink a healthy amount of water each day.
4. Body Weight
Body weight can impact the amount of water you need daily. The easiest way to calculate how much water you should drink per day is by dividing your body weight in pounds by half — this number represents the number of ounces you should drink per day. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you'll want to drink 90 ounces of water daily.
If you exercise frequently, you'll want to adjust that amount slightly to find out how much water to drink each day you work out. Take the number of minutes you typically exercise and divide it by 30, then multiply the answer by 12. Add this number to the previously calculated number of ounces based on your weight for the total amount of water you should drink in ounces when you exercise.
Continuing our previous example, suppose you plan to work out for 60 minutes. Divide 60 by 30 to get 2, then multiply 2 by 12 to get 24. Add 90 to get 114 ounces.
The number you come up with will allow your body to receive the proper amount of hydration to feel energized after you exercise.
Why Is Drinking Large Amounts of Water After a Workout Not Good?
You can drink too much water. While we are encouraged to hydrate our bodies with multiple glasses of water each day, too many fluids can lead to similar symptoms of dehydration that can slow you down rather than energize your body after getting in some healthy exercise.
Sometimes athletes consume too much fluid while trying to prevent dehydration after long workout sessions or training periods. This step typically leads the kidneys to absorb too much water they cannot release. The blood concentration of sodium becomes diluted, which can be fatal. However, this is not common to occur unless extreme fluid intake occurs.
To avoid drinking too much or too little during your exercises, you can follow the guidelines above to find the perfect amount of water for you to drink based on your physical factors. Spreading out your fluid intake can make it easy to avoid drinking too much water after a workout.
How Much Water Should I Drink While Exercising?
The amount of water you should drink while exercising varies based on how long you'll exercise and the type of exercise. Generally, you can take the time in minutes, divide by 30 and multiply by 12 to get the number of ounces you should drink while exercising.
Drinking enough water in healthy increments also depends on your height, weight, and preferred exercise regimen. It's important to follow the guidelines for proper consumption. Drinking too little or too many fluids can lead to symptoms of dehydration. Luckily, finding the perfect balance of how much water to drink and when to hydrate is easier than ever with the following tips.
1. Spread out Drinking Before, During, and After a Workout
Since drinking too much water during exercise can lead to similar dehydration symptoms, you can effectively time your drinking to feel your best while working out.
The American Council on Exercise recommends the following amount of water during these time increments:
- Two to three hours before working out, drink 17 to 20 ounces of water.
- During your warm-up, have another 8 ounces of water to prepare your body for sweating and movement.
- Drink 7 to 10 more ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise.
- Wait 30 minutes after finishing your workout to drink 8 more ounces of fluids.
Taking a small break between each stage of your workout to drink an appropriate amount of water can give your body the energy and rejuvenation it needs to continue to build muscle and bounce back from physical activity! Make sure to keep refilling your water bottle as needed throughout your exercise program to get as many fluids as necessary, according to the guidelines above.
2. Pay Attention to How You Feel
Although it may be subtle, your body can show you precisely what it needs to thrive. The symptoms of dehydration are your body's way of communicating to your brain that you need more fluids and water-based foods to give your organs, skin, and muscles the energy they need.
If you feel fatigued, nauseous, confused, dizzy, or thirsty, do your body a favor by drinking the right amount of water each day. Try to get fluids into your system before you feel thirsty to avoid other symptoms of dehydration that can occur when forgetting to drink throughout the day.
3. Weighing Yourself Before and After Exercising
You can also determine fluid loss by weighing yourself before and after a workout. If you lose a few ounces immediately after exercising, this difference is your sweat loss. While this measurement shows your hard work and determination, prioritize hydrating your body to compensate for this fluid loss.
To stay hydrated after your workout, try to replace the sweat lost with the same amount of water. For example, if you lost 16 ounces or one pound while exercising, drink 16 ounces of fluids or more to rejuvenate your body. This number can fluctuate depending on your workout for the day, so make sure to weigh yourself before and after exercise to understand your body's needs better.
Should I Drink Cold or Hot Water During a Workout?
Although cold water seems ideal during an exhilarating workout, hot water can also provide health benefits while exercising. The difference between these two choices is your workout goal — hydrating or cooling off.
Drinking cold water during regular exercise can cool the body more quickly. More liquid allows your body to sweat, making it easier to regulate your body temperature while engaging your muscles. Cold water also allows you to cool off when you are sweating, so you do not feel overheated. If you want to maintain a healthy body temperature while working up a sweat, cold water is the choice for you.
Warm water can provide the same hydration benefits as cold water while easing some digestive issues. So, drinking hot water after a workout and during your exercise routine may make the body feel lighter without the morning's breakfast slowing you down. With a water bottle of warm fluids by your side while exercising and a nutritional balance of ingredients before and after your workout, you can feel accomplished after every set you complete.
Are Sports Drinks Better Than Water?
In some cases, athletes and trainers prefer sports drinks rather than water. You are more than welcome to do the same! However, knowing the ingredients labels and other nutritional facts can make choosing between these two drinks easier when exercising.
A sports drink might be preferable to water, depending on your exercise regimen. The electrolytes and sugar content in these drinks can replace the carbohydrates in the body after working out. This option might be better suited for strenuous outdoor activities such as playing sports, running long distances, or cycling since the heat and physical exercise cause a more significant loss of carbs and fluid loss.
Water, however, is best for workouts with smaller exercise time frames and less carb loss, including walking, lifting weights, and using exercise machines.
If you are interested in a cheaper and healthier alternative to sports drinks, consider adding electrolytes to your clean water instead. The electrolytes from sports drinks give us the energy we need to feel rejuvenated after a workout. Water with electrolytes can provide the same benefits with fewer calories, costs, and sugar.
Stay Hydrated With a Multipure Drinking Water System
With clean water from Multipure's drinking water systems right in your home, you can enjoy exercising with healthy hydration habits each day! Multipure's home water filtration systems are certified to reduce a wide range of contaminants so each drink of water feels refreshing and clean. Our drinking water systems are versatile to fit in areas of your home where you can easily access them, including below the sink or on the countertop, in your kitchen, or even in your bathroom.
Multipure has a wide variety of drinking water systems, something for everyone and every budget.
Contact us today with questions about how our products benefit your home and travel water filtration needs.