Rehydration – Recovery for the Whole Body
Hydration is vital for proper recovery. For each pound lost during exercise, we lose 16 fl. oz. of water. Water isn’t the only thing lost however—electrolytes are also lost. Sodium and potassium, two of many electrolytes, are important for neuromuscular control—without these, your muscles cannot perform proper contractions. Sodium lost in sweat is variable from person to person, but it is estimated for each pound of weight lost during a workout, up to 2,000 mg of sodium can be lost. If rehydration after a workout is not accomplished, symptoms such as muscle cramping and spasm, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea can occur.
So…what can you do about it? First off, weigh yourself before and after workouts. If there is more than a pound difference, make sure to gradually replace the water lost (remember, for each pound, that’s 16 oz. of water). Second, be sure to replace your electrolytes. When choosing how to do this it’s important to examine the other contents of a drink as well. Things high in sugar are not the best way to go (yes, that includes most carbonated sports drinks). Instead, a drink that has about 2-4% carbohydrates is more appropriate. It’s also important to stay hydrated through the day and go into a workout hydrated. An easy equation to estimate the amount of water to drink is half your body weight. For example, a 220 lb. man should be drinking 110 oz. a day; and 140 lb. women should be drinking 70 oz. a day.
Check out the resources below for additional info on hydration for recovery.
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