Benefits of Drinking Water While Exercising

Benefits of Drinking Water While Exercising

We all know exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but do we know what differentiates an effective and successful workout from an unsuccessful one? During those strenuous workouts, there are several factors to watch out for to make sure you are getting the most out of your exercise while also reducing any risks to yourself. Choosing exercises that are best suited to you, working with a trainer, keeping any health issues or injuries in view and eating healthy are some of the factors. 

Here we are focusing on another vital factor- drinking water. How much do you need to drink and how can it benefit you? We have brought in the experts to give you some professional advice on that.

Keep Cool Through Hydration

1) Sweat is the body’s means of losing heat. If you’re dehydrated that heat builds up more quickly. You both want to be hydrated optimally before you begin exercise and continue to drink periodically during exercise lasting longer than 30 minutes. When I take clients on hikes during multi-day retreats, I encourage them to drink a half to a cup of cool water every 30 minutes and stay on pace doing so. 2) During the first few minutes you experience the greatest change in body temperature and sweat rate sets in. During that few minutes if you’re on a spinning bike it’s a good idea to hydrate, since you don’t have air moving around you to cool you. 3) You can experience a lower level of perceived exertion if you remain hydrated. Otherwise, as the blood thickens when you become dehydrated, oxygen delivery to working muscles is harder and your effort level will increase and or performance will decrease or both. 4) Sodium added to water or taken along with it can be helpful especially for heavy sweaters, high humidity, and longer workouts. You know you will do better with some added salt if you frequently have salt lines on your bike shorts or visor after workouts. Another sign is your skin feels like a French fry after a workout. 5) Your body can absorb and use the water you drink best taking it in half to cup amounts instead of sips here and there. 6) An early onset sweat is a sign your body has an efficient and effective heating and cooling system. Water is the best source of hydration to facilitate that.”

Debra Atkinson, Voice For Fitness, is a bestselling author and a certified NSCA – CSCS, ACE Medical Exercise Specialist

Prevent Dangerous Health Consequences

“When exercising, staying hydrated is essential to maintain normal functions that your body completes. If you exercise while dehydrated you are more prone to injury and a cardiac event – which can be extremely dangerous. Because you lose water in the form of sweat when exercising, replacing these fluids is critical to reaching your body’s peak performance.”

Forrest McCall, certified fitness trainer, health enthusiast, and owner of the blog TastyKitchenn

Improved Athletic Performance

“Get the most out of your workouts by staying hydrated. Studies have found just a 2% increase in dehydration can lower athletic and exercise performance. And a loss of 5% in body weight water can lead to a 30% decrease in exercise capacity. So if you’re looking to make the most out of your workouts then ensuring you’re properly hydrated is key.”

Josh Schlottman, Certified Personal Trainer (CSCS) & Nutritionist, Trainer Josh Fitness

Prevent Cramps and Lethargy

“Drinking water might not feel super important during a workout, however, after losing loads of water through sweating and heavy breathing dehydration can often occur. It is because of this factor, I usually recommend my clients drink around 10 fluid ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise they are engaged in. This general rule of thumb can help you stay hydrated during heavy exercise. Dehydration is no joke and can be a huge hindrance to your muscle’s ability to perform at their peak. Even worse, some other negative effects you may experience are dizziness, muscle cramps, and general sluggishness. Due to these factors, it’s important to maintain proper hydration before, after, and even during a workout. Proper hydration will improve your cardiac output since, in this state your heart is more efficient moving oxygenated blood full of important nutrients to your muscles. This means you can shrug off that lethargic feeling, improve energy and increase your muscle recovery between sets, giving you a better overall workout!”

Joshua Lafond, Certified Personal Trainer and the Owner and Operator of Healthy Gym Habits

Balance Electrolytes in the Body

“During exercise, depending on the intensity and amount of sweat being lost, we are losing important electrolytes. If we lose too many electrolytes creating an imbalance in the body we run the risk of moderate to severe side effects. By drinking water during exercise, especially water infused with electrolytes, we can bring this back into balance. Cramps occur as a result of low electrolytes in the body, which are responsible for maintaining both water balance and nerve health. When these are found to be deficient the muscles will begin to cramp as they experience water imbalance and poor nerve function. Increased sweat, dehydration, and electrolyte deficiency all increase the risk of cramps. These electrolytes are particularly responsible for arterial pressure as well. Loss of these nutrients can cause  poor blood flow due to restriction, which can also lead to high blood pressure.”

Trista Best (MPH, RD, LD) is a Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements, Environmental Health Specialist, and Adjunct Nutrition Professor

Replace Lost Fluids

“Hydration is key to life, which means you need extra water when you’re pushing hard in the gym. You need water before, during, and after your exercise routine. Water helps to regulate your body temperature, keep your joints from sticking, and moves nutrients throughout your body. Without it, you’ll find your muscles are extra sore, your joints may not move as well, and you could have increased headaches. Your body will pull nutrients it needs from your bones, and store what it can from the foods you eat. Drinking water while you exercise replaces lost fluids from sweat, reduces heat stress, and helps you maintain performance levels.”

Jeff Parke, the Owner of Top Fitness Magazine

Clearly, hydration is key to a successful workout and you simply can’t do without it. So make sure you get in the required amount of water during your workouts. Stay healthy, stay safe.

Scott Hamlin
Scott is the editor-in-chief of Spice Market New York. He is also an author and publisher of his own craft.