· Health&Wellness · · T. Editorial Team · P. Rights Reserved

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Drinking water is essential for us to keep the body hydrated and, when we exercise, we need to be doubly careful. When we do physical activity, there is a natural loss of water through sweating, which can cause damage to our health and affect how the metabolism functions, causing difficulties in temperature regulation. Sweating also leads to the loss of minerals, causing an electrolyte imbalance, and the consequent muscular contraction. All these factors obviously lead to lower sports performance.
1% to 2% dehydration causes thirst, loss of appetite, increased body temperature, heat intolerance and reddened skin. At around 3%, there is substantial reduction in physical performance and at 4% to 6% fatigue, muscle spasms and delirium may occur. From 6% onwards, there is already a risk of thermal shock, coma and even death. Dehydration affects aerobic performance, decreases ventricular ejection volume, decreases blood volume, and raises the heart rate.
Many people doing physical activity do not drink water until they feel thirsty, in order to prevent dehydration during exercise. However, recognising the signs and symptoms of dehydration is important because, even if you do not feel thirsty, you will be aware that you are dehydrated, and rehydrate prior to side effects appearing, and thus maintaining the homeostasis.
Understanding when to drink water and how much to drink is crucial. According to some experts, it is appropriate to drink liquids two hours before exercise, and during the exercise, starting drinking from the beginning and at regular intervals, in sufficient amounts to recover the losses through sweat and urine, benefiting temperature regulation, which increases peripheral blood flow. Drinking large amounts of water can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, so try to keep things balanced. Other experts recommend drinking liquids three hours before exercise, and 10 to 20 minutes before exercising.
For activities of more than one hour or for short, high intensity workouts, the addition of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes, in balanced amounts, is recommended, delaying fatigue. The addition of sodium is recommended in the case of long-lasting exercise, promoting fluid retention and reversing the loss of sodium in sweat. In conclusion, consulting a nutritionist is essential, as each case should be assessed individually.
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