Keeping your body hydrated is one of the most important aspects of staying safe and healthy when exercising.
Water can replenish the fluids you lose through sweat, and can prevent you from becoming dehydrated and experiencing fatigue, dizziness, and weakened performance — all of which can be detrimental to your workout.
Drinking water throughout your workout is a habit that may come naturally to some, but for others, it’s important to stay on top of taking periodic water breaks to stay safe and healthy.
Here are five tips you can follow to make sure you stay hydrated when exercising:
1. Drink whenever you feel thirsty
This tip may seem obvious, but make sure you drink or sip on water at any point in your workout you feel thirsty. Feeling thirsty in the first place is a sign of impending dehydration, so be proactive and drink water even if you’re not feeling quite thirsty enough to take a break yet. Better yet, aim for drinking between seven and 10 ounces of water every 15 minutes during your workout to make sure your body stays fully hydrated.
2. Take special note of muscle fatigue
When your muscles begin to feel weakened and fatigued, it’s likely that your body is already dehydrated. Lean muscle tissue is made up of more than 75 percent water, so lack of water can be detrimental to muscle strength and endurance. Take a quick water break to hydrate yourself and return to your strength-training or workout routine after you’ve recovered.
3. Snack on fruit during longer workouts
Many fruits contain water and electrolytes that can replenish your body in the middle of long, intense workouts such as marathons or hiking trips. Snack on a banana or on raisins in the middle of a long workout to give yourself the energy boost needed.
4. Pinch your skin
The elasticity of your skin will change slightly when your body becomes dehydrated. Try pinching a bit of skin on the back of your hand to see if it returns to its normal position at a slow or fast pace. If your skin moves back into position at a slow rate, then it’s possible you’re dehydrated and need to drink water.
5. Stop exercising when you feel dizzy or lightheaded
Feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness indicate that your body is already dehydrated. Stop exercising immediately when you start to feel these symptoms, which occur when there is too little water in your bloodstream. Take a break or go home for the day, and make sure you hydrate with plenty of water and a healthy meal before returning to the gym.