How to Hydrate Before, During, and After a Workout

If your urine is darker than pale yellow, or you have not urinated a few hours after exercise, you are still dehydrated and need to continue to drink. Depending on the intensity and duration of your workout as well as the weather (warm and humid vs. cool and dry), you may be better able to tolerate fluids sooner than your recovery meal or snack.

Choose your fluid wisely. Enjoy 100 percent fruit juice, diluted fruit juice, non-fat or 1 percent milk, or soy milk. These nutrient-rich beverages provide not only fluid, but carbohydrates and electrolytes as well.

Milk is an excellent recovery drink because it not only provides carbohydrates, but contains the electrolytes sodium and potassium which are lost in sweat. The quantities contained in milk are much greater than that contained in sports drinks. Additionally, milk also contains calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for strong bones, as well as protein, which is important for muscle recovery.

More: Hydration Basics

Can I Drink Too Much?

Maintain a comfortably full stomach during physical activity. If your stomach is sloshing, stop drinking. To prevent hyperhydration when exercising for more than two hours or in the heat for more than one hour, drink a beverage that contains sodium such as a sports drink. Sodium leads to greater fluid retention, facilitates thirst, and helps to maintain proper electrolyte status, which is essential for optimal sports performance.

To make your own sports drink, combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice and add 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and enjoy. Some athletes will need to double or triple this recipe in order to meet their hydration needs during prolonged exercise.

More: How Much Water Should You Drink?

Follow these guidelines to ensure that you are adequately hydrated before, during and after your workouts. Proper hydration will enable you to perform and feel your best. Selecting nutrient-rich drinks will enable you to reach your full athletic potential.

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