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Water Intake Levels

Hi on this Wednesday morning! I have just put down the newspaper and have come across the water issue in it’s health pages and thought that this makes an ideal post for today. We have often heard of 6-8 glasses of water (equivalent to 2 litres of water) a day theory. However, this is only a rough and ready figure for average daily activities. In real, water and fluid consumption is a function of our activity levels and type of activities (load), intensity of activity, weather conditions etc. So how much water is really enough for somebody who incorporates physically exertive exercises in their daily schedules?

From time to time, experts have reviewed their take on fluid consumption pre, post and during workouts. It is difficult to give an exact estimate of how much water is enough, however, it is important to drink water before workout as well as during the workout. Though water has no energy value of it’s own, it helps in the production of energy through better metabolization of carbohydrates and proteins in the body. If we drink less, we are actually having the body operate at sub-optimal energy levels. Scientific studies have shown that up to 10- 30 % less than individual optima of energy are reached with lower levels of fluid/water intake pre and during workouts. It is best to be tunes in to your body and chalk drinking levels as per your activity schedule for the day.

If you are an endurance athlete (professional or amateur) and workout for more than an hour up to hour and a half, it would be good to drink 2 litres of water for every hour of intense workout. This will also facilitate quicker recoveries post exercise. However, if you are a runner or jogger, it may not be possible to drink 2 litres. When faced with such a situation, drink up to about 3 hours before hand. This will prevent bloating during the run and you may only the required amount during the run that keeps you hydrated and yet out of discomfort. For workouts up to an hour, water will suffice without the need for any energy drinks.

Immediately after an intense workout session, anything between 250 ml – 500 ml of water is advisable. This encourages a quick fluid excretion from the stomach into the small intestine for absorption. It is also taken as an accepted rule, that after this initial intake, the athlete should consume 250 ml every 15 minutes for the next 2 to 3 hours.

Also, the loss in body weight that results from exercise should be the key to determining the total amount of fluid that must be replaced before the next exercise session. As a thumb rule, approximately 500 ml of retained fluid is equal to 500 grams of body weight. Since not all consumed water is retained, twice as much fluid may need to be consumed to replace the fluid equivalent in weight loss.

Until next week, exercise safe and stay well hydrated….

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