When the weather is hot and humid, it can be hard to keep your body properly hydrated, especially if you exercise outdoors. Water is not only a refreshing and vital beverage, it is also an important nutrient that represents approximately 50 to 60 percent of the average person’s body weight. adequate fluid intake is key for health and athletic performance.
Being adequately hydrated with the right fluid and electrolyte balance can help you exercise longer with better results as well as helping you recover faster by lowering your heart rate, improving blood flow to muscles, controlling body temperature and preventing hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels).
Hydration…How Much is Enough?
How much you should drink for optimal health and performance varies based on your individual needs, but experts advise that one way to stay adequately hydrated is to stick to a schedule, so if you like to drink up in the morning when you first get up, that is a habit you should try to keep.
You should also try to schedule hydration breaks during your workouts. As a rule of thumb, most recreational athletes require approximately 11 to 15 cups of water daily, according to the Institute of Medicine. The temperature and humidity you work out in, your muscle mass, the level of physical activity you engage in and your diet all influence how much fluid you need. Set a goal to consume enough water during your workout to maintain 100 percent of the fluids you lose through perspiration. Sports science research has shown that athletes who lose even as little as two percent of their body fluid may experience a performance decline of as much as 10 percent.
What Should I Drink?
Generally, if you work out for an hour or less, plain water is your best choice to keep yourself hydrated when the weather is hot, but if you are engaging in strenuous activity for more than an hour, you may want to consider a sports drink to help you keep your electrolyte levels balanced as well.
Remember, proper hydration is critical in the summer, but it can also impact your well-being and performance all year long. So raise a glass of refreshing water and drink to your health!