Staying hydrated during exercise isn’t just about quenching your thirst—it’s crucial for performance and overall health. Whether you’re hitting the gym, going for a run, or enjoying a workout class, adequate hydration can make a significant difference in how you feel and perform.

Fun Fact!

When you exercise, especially in hot weather or for extended periods of time, your body loses water through sweat. This loss can lead to dehydration, which not only affects your physical performance but also your mental alertness and coordination.
Try the following suggestions to stay as hydrated as possible while exercising: Drink Before You Feel Thirsty: Thirst is a late indicator of dehydration. Start hydrating before you exercise by drinking about 16–20 ounces of water a few hours beforehand. Stay Consistent: Sip water throughout your workout, aiming for about 7–10 ounces every 10–20 minutes during exercise. Consider Electrolytes: If you’re exercising intensely or for more than an hour, consider a sports drink that contains electrolytes (like sodium and potassium) to help replace what you lose through sweat.

Monitor Your Urine: Check the color of your urine as a rough gauge of hydration—pale yellow generally indicates adequate hydration, while darker yellow may suggest you need more fluids. Post-Exercise Hydration: Rehydrate after your workout to replenish any fluids lost. Water is typically sufficient for most people, but if you’ve sweated a lot, a sports drink can help restore electrolytes. Why is sweat salty?Sweat is salty primarily because it contains electrolytes, particularly sodium chloride (table salt). Sweat glands produce sweat by filtering blood plasma. This process selectively removes excess electrolytes, especially sodium ions (Na+) and chloride ions (Cl-), from the blood to maintain electrolyte balance in the body. The concentration of electrolytes in sweat is higher than in plasma. This osmotic gradient facilitates water movement from the blood into sweat glands, forming sweat that is isotonic (having the same osmotic pressure as blood plasma). It’s no secret that sweat serves the crucial role of cooling the body through evaporation from the skin surface. The presence of electrolytes, especially sodium, helps in retaining some water on the skin, which enhances evaporative cooling efficiency.

Remember, everyone’s hydration needs are different, so listen to your body and adjust accordingly. By making hydration a priority during exercise, you’ll not only enhance your performance but also support your overall well-being. Stay hydrated, stay healthy!
References:
European Food Safety Authority. 2019. Scientific Opinion on the dietary reference values for sodium. EFSA Journal 2019;17(9):5778
Public Health England. 2019. McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset.
Images: Pieretti, Lisa. “Bromhidrosis (Odor Issues) – International Hyperhidrosis Society: Official Site.” Bromhidrosis (Odor Issues) – International Hyperhidrosis Society | Official Site, sweathelp.org/home/sweat-and-odor.html