How can I stay properly hydrated?

Your body needs water. For happy and healthy body, you need to compensate for water loss. Before, after and especially during physical exertion, dehydration is any athlete's worst enemy, affecting both the body and sporting performance. That's why staying properly hydrated is essential for all of us. This is why the Aptonia blog is going to publish its first report on the benefits and signs of good hydration for athletes. Firstly, here are 6 tips for staying efficiently hydrated before, during and after exercise.

1 - Drink enough water during the day

Even without any extra physical activity, your body needs an average of 1.5 litres of water or other drinks, with another litre of water coming from the food you eat. This is how you can compensate for daily water loss, which is around 2.5 litres in adults.

This amount increases the hotter and dryer our environment is, but also and especially when you exercise.

Daily water intake: 1.5 litres

2 - Don't wait until you're thirsty before drinking

Being thirsty or not is an unreliable indicator of how hydrated your body is, because it is a late symptom of dehydration. You feel thirsty once your body is already dehydrated by at least 1% of your body weight. You should therefore give your body more water than it asks for.

Did you know? A loss of 2% of your body weight in water can decrease sporting performance by 20%!!!

Drink regularly: every 5 to 10 minutes even in cool weather

3 - Sufficiently hydrate your body

To maintain a regular body temperature, your body uses an effective cooling system - perspiration. On average, water loss from perspiration is between 500ml and 1 litre per hour and this can increase to 3 litres or more for experienced athletes. This is why it is so important to compensate for water lost through perspiration and avoid becoming dehydrated.

It is thought that you should drink at least half a litre of water or other drinks for each hour of exercise.

Amount of water to drink while exercising: 500ml minimum/hour of exercise

4 - Effectively hydrate your body

Drink before, during and after exertion.

  • Before: With warm-ups and the stress due to the challenge to come, dehydration can start even before you start exercising. That's why you need to anticipate and prevent water loss from happening during exercise,
  • During exercise, it's important to compensate for water lost through perspiration to avoid the effects of being dehydrated.
  • After exercise, it's important to continue to hydrate your body to carry on compensating for inevitable water losses and avoiding low water levels which will lead to muscle pain.

Drink before, during and after exertion.

5- Choose a drink that is suitable for your activity

  • If you're exercising for less than an hour, your body only needs water.
  • For more than an hour of exercise, a carbohydrate intake such as an isotonic drink is recommended to avoid hypoglycaemia or exhaustion due to depleted energy reserves. Don't choose very cold drinks, as this could lead to stomach problems. Drinks should be cool but not ice-cold. Drinks should be kept at around 15°C.

6- Recognise the signs of dehydration

The main symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Feeling thirsty,
  • An increased heart beat,
  • A drop in blood pressure,
  • A drop in performance.

Mild dehydration leads to a feeling of fatigue and weariness.

Severe dehydration leads to feeling very thirsty during exercise, heavy, aching legs, getting out of breath, muscle and tendon pain or even sprains… Severe dehydration affects the whole body and can require urgent medical attention.

Once one of these symptoms appears, it is already too late to do anything about it, as the stomach cannot absorb liquids quickly enough to deal with dehydration.

Marie Fauchille
Dietician | Nutritionist
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      Water accounts for 60% of the weight of a human being. It is the main component of our body. Therefore, dehydration can have a serious effect on the body, because water intervenes in a many of the chemical reactions that make our body function properly. All forms of physical activity produce heat that must be eliminated. This is the reason why we perspire, a phenomenon that incurs the risk of dehydration.