What to drink when exercising to avoid the harmful effects of dehydration

The inability of the body to maintain appropriate fluid levels necessary for proper bodily activities is known as dehydration. Once fluid loss exceeds fluid intake, a condition known as dehydration sets place. Perform better during endurance exercises if your fluid deficit is less than 2% of your body weight.

Early recommendations advised athletes to drink as much as possible to ‘stay ahead of thirst’, while contemporary standards suggest utilizing thirst as a cue to hydrate. Given our weather, I recommend planning and sticking to a hydration strategy before and throughout activity.

Before activity, your body should be in 'euhydration'—neither dehydrated nor overhydrated. Avoid bloating by not drinking too much fluid before an event, like athletes do. Drink 500 ml 2-3 hours before the event and 250 ml 15 minutes before.

Drinking enough water to replenish what you lose via perspiration is the gold standard. One should drink half a liter to a liter of liquids for every hour that they exercise, as a general guideline. This quantity might be divided into four pieces and consumed every fifteen minutes.

Remember that too much liquids dilutes blood sodium. Life requires sodium, which is strictly regulated within a small range. The term for a blood level below 135 mmol/l is hyponatremia. When below 130 mmol/l, symptoms include bloating, puffiness, weight gain, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.

Slower runners frequently confuse weariness for dehydration and drink more fluid than needed. Dehydration is more prevalent than hyperhydration and hyponatremia in our weather, yet drinking too much liquids can be deadly.

Plain water is a good fluid replacement for workout under 1 hour. The body requires 30-60 grams of carbs every hour for exertion over an hour. It may be mixed into water at 6-8% carbohydrate content or purchased separately. 

When replenishing fluids during longer runs, like a half or full marathon, it's crucial to provide a little amount of salt and potassium. Either buy a sports drink that already has this fluid composition, or whip up a homemade version of a sports drink, like 'nimbu pani,' using sugar and a touch of salt.

Most runners are somewhat dehydrated after extended activity, so refill fluids within two hours. Since sweat and urine loss continue throughout recovery, drink 1.25–1.5 liters of liquids for every liter of sweat lost (per kilogram of body weight lost immediately post-exercise).

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