Want to know the secret that every top athlete in the world shares? It’s hydration! Believe it or not, staying well hydrated is the number one thing that you can do to improve your performance. It is such a simple thing but so many of us forget to stay on top of it.
Whether you are working out at the gym or swimming laps, you absolutely must stay on top of your hydration game. Not only is it critical to your performance, it is also a health and safety must! When you exercise, you sweat. You might not really notice it when you are in the water but you are still losing fluids and you need to replace them to keep your body going.
Your body is always working to maintain a delicate balance and without water everything is out of whack. As soon as your body starts to get dehydrated, you are going to slow down. Your performance will suffer as fatigue starts to set in. And, not only does dehydration affect your body, it affects your brain. Your judgement and decision making skills immediately begin to suffer when you are parched. All of the things that are normally second nature to you suddenly start to seem like chores.
So, what is the solution? The easiest way to stay hydrated is to make it part of your normal routine so that you never even need to think about it. Every time you are planning to exercise, drink at least 0.5 litres about two hours before you plan to start sweating. When you start working out, drink at least another 0.75 litres per hour of activity. If you are working out for more than one hour, go for sports drink that will give you a boost of electrolytes and carbohydrates.
And remember, guys, these are the minimum amounts. If you are thirsty, drink! You really aren’t at risk of drinking too much water. Whenever you are swimming, keep a bottle of water right at the edge of the pool. Take a quick break at least once every 20 mins to rehydrate.
The best thing that you can do as an athlete is learn to pay attention to your body. Never ignore feelings of thirst, especially in warm weather and during workouts. If you aren’t really sure if you are getting enough water, check the toilet! The easiest way to check your hydration level is to look at the colour of your pee. Generally speaking, your goal is to create urine that is very pale yellow. The darker your pee is, the more dehydrated you are so pay attention regularly.