Exercising in the Heat
Throughout the longer and warmer days of summer, it is much easier to exercise outdoors. In order to beat the heat, it is important to pay attention to your hydration! The amount of liquid needed to stay hydrated depends on many factors including the type of exercise being performed, the environment, including the humidity and temperature, and the presence of illness or other health conditions.
Follow the tips below to avoid dehydration:
Exercise: During exercise, perspiration increases. It is important to compensate for the fluid losses. For short-term exercise, an extra 1.5 – 2.5 cups of fluid should suffice. For longer duration n exercise of an hour or more, water or sports drinks should be consumed throughout exercise to maintain water balance. It is recommended to drink before, during and after a workout. The amount needed depends highly on the amount perspired.
Environment: Hot and humid weather causes excess perspiration; therefore it is important to replace the water loss throughout the entire workout. Approximately 4 – 6 ounces is recommended for every 15 minutes. Pay attention to your thirst level. Thirst is an indication of slight dehydration.
Illness: With fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. Focus on drinking water and eating fluid-rich foods. It may be beneficial to drink a sports drink to make up for electrolytes lost.
Best Liquids for Hydration: Good old-fashioned water usually does the trick to stay hydrated. If you are participating in an activity or exercise lasting over an hour or in hot and humid conditions, it may be beneficial to have a sports drink or juice diluted with water on hand. These drinks not only replenish the electrolytes lost in sweat, but also keep your energy levels up by replacing carbohydrates.
Beyond Hydration: It is equally important to maintain blood sugar levels. Be sure to have a small snack (at least 100 calories) before participating in exercise to avoid exhaustion. Having a light snack will also help you to perform better and keep energy levels up.