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Hydration 101

The human body is two thirds water, and during toasty summer months, proper hydration is the most important weapon you have against heat related injuries.  Fluids before, during and after your workout or run are paramount to staying healthy and energized because they help the body regulate its temperature.  Hydration should be part of your everyday life, carry a water bottle and shoot for 60 ounces a day, drink water every time you drink coffee, soda, or alcohol.  The best way to gauge your hydration needs is based on thirst.  Drink when you’re thirsty, not a designated or predetermined times, since too much fluid can be just as dangerous as too little.hydrationBefore your workout or run you want to put both food and fluid into your system.  Have an energy bar or gel, making sure whatever you eat is easy to digest.  Back off fluids roughly 30 minutes before your long run, checking that you need to pee before you go and your urine is a light yellow color.

During your workout, especially if you are running, you want to take in approximately four ounces of fluid per mile. Don’t force yourself to drink, drink if you’re thirsty, but stay on top of fluid in-take; it’s hard to catch up if you fall behind.  Any drink you bring on a run should taste good cold as well as warm so you can drink them when you need it most.  It’s hard to suffer drinking warm water, so practice or pick a sports drink with a flavor you enjoy.

After your workout or run, you need to recover.  To do that, your body needs both carbs and protein, preferably in a 4:1 ratio.  Review how much fluid you took in, and determine how you did.  Post workout or run, have cool water or recovery drinks because you will be more inclined to drink them.

Stay hydrated during your regular gym workout to aid performance and get better results.  If training for a race, practice your hydration strategy by mixing it up with different types of sports drinks, recovery drinks, and temperatures of liquid.  Be careful not to force fluids, and listen to your body when it tells you to take some in.  Following these guidelines and listening closely to your body are the best ways to prevent heat related injuries all year long.