Hydration: What to Drink, How Much and How Often

Drink More When It's Hot and Humid

Hydration becomes most important during intense exercise in the heat (so follow these crucial summer hydration tips to fuel your workouts). When it's hot and you're sweating, it's easier to get dehydrated. Even slight dehydration can make the effort feel tougher. So drink extra water and electrolytes when it's hot and humid outside.

The best bet for rehydration is to consume a low-cal beverage that contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Good choices include sports drinks (go low-cal if your workout), try coconut water or water with a slice of fruit. The refreshing hint of flavor may drive you to drink more.

More: 8 Hydrating Foods to Eat While Training in Hot Weather

How much is enough? Try to drink to match your thirst. If you want to be technical about it, simply weigh yourself before heading out and once again when you return. For every pound of body weight you lose, aim to drink at least 16 ounces of fluid. You'll know you've consumed enough when your urine runs light yellow in color.

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Check the Label Before You Sip

Many sports drinks look appealing, but they are also laden with calories and sugar, which makes it easy to consume all the calories that you worked so hard to burn. Avoid specialty coffee drinks, high-octane sports drinks and even fruit juice, all of which can be high in calories. Unless your workout lasted over an hour or cause you to sweat profusely, stick to something as simple as water with a slice of lime.

If you're looking to replace electrolytes, choose a calorie-free sports drink or even coconut water. Remember, if your goal is to stay hydrated while also shedding unwanted weight, choose a drink with less than 50 calories for every 16-ounce serving.

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Get a Jolt Prerun

It's okay to drink coffee or caffeinated tea before a workout. In fact studies have shown that caffeine boosts energy and alertness. Just be sure to leave enough time between your java and your run to hit the bathroom. The heat of the liquid gets the bowels moving, and you don't want to have to make an unwanted stop on the run.

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Do the Sweat Test

If you're curious to see how much fluid you lose during an hour-long workout, here's how to find out: Weigh yourself naked before a workout, then again after you're done. If you lost one pound during the workout, you sweated 16 ounces (one pound). Next time, when you're working out in similar conditions, aim for 16 ounces of fluids during the workout to replace what you lost through sweating.

More: How to Hydrate Before, During and After a Workout

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