The Thirst – Importance of Staying Hydrated

–Courtesy of Katie Ma, SFL Asst Coach–
Hi everyone, as we are trying to stay fit and healthy during the off
season, I was thinking that keeping yourself healthy through nutrition
is just as important as staying active.
Some weeks ago, I went to 24 Hour Fitness dressed for cold weather.
However once I started exercising, I was getting hot fast and started
to sweat a lot. I failed to account for the fact that I was going to
be inside and that the heaters were probably on. Since I was taking a
nutrition class, I thought this would be important to share:

Staying hydrated is very important. Drink ¾-1 ½ cups (4-8oz) of fluids
for every 15-20 minutes of activity. Another thing to be aware of is
water intoxication, which is consuming too much water alone. Too much
water dilutes the blood electrolytes, therefore be sure to consume
liquids that also replace your electrolytes. Be sure to drink before
you start working out and during your workout. And drink before you
feel thirsty because it may be too late.

Now that it is wintertime, we need to adjust for the cold weather. It
is harder to gauge dehydration; most water loss is through

A rule of thumb is: Drink early and drink often. Be sure to drink cold
liquids because it empties from the stomach faster and therefore
absorbed more quickly.

For training that may last for more than an hour, consider a pre-
exercise meal high in carbohydrates. Foods that are an immediate
source of energy and easy to digest include bread, oatmeal, pasta,
rice, potatoes, banana, cereal, or an energy bar.

During endurance exercising (lasting longer than 60 minutes), be sure
to consume foods or drinks with carbohydrates (such as Gatorade or
Powerade; however these drinks also have calories.) It will help
maintain blood glucose and glycogen levels. It will also replace
fluids and electrolytes lost through sweating. Consuming enough
carbohydrates allows you to exercise longer and faster.

For post-exercise recovery: Consume foods which are high-sugar
carbohydrates (plain bagel, carrot, muffins, potatoes, or rice) or
drinks (sports drinks, fruit juice, lemonade; 1g carbohydrate/1 kg of
body weight) within 15-20 minutes of finishing. Have a complex
carbohydrate meal with adequate protein within ½-2 hours of finishing,
like whole wheat spaghetti and meatballs, and a salad with Italian

Protein is not a source of energy during a workout; it is used for
muscle maintenance among other things. People usually consume more
than enough protein in their regular diet, therefore supplements are
not necessary.

Another thing the book suggested for strength training: do 8-10
exercises, hitting all major muscle groups. Do 1-3 sets with 8-12
repetitions or 10-15 repetitions, two to three times a week. Be sure
to incorporate stretching to prevent injury and soreness, 15-30
seconds, repeated two to four times, alternating sides. And warm up
before stretching.

Hewlings, S.J., & Mederios, D.M., 2009 Nutrition: Real people, real
choices. Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey

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