5 Myths About Dehydration and Exercising

health_coachWater is the essential substance of life. Human body is made up of around 60 percent of water, and we know we need to drink to remain healthy and functional. Many myths, however, exist about the daily amount of water we need to use. We know that we lose fluids through perspiration, and we sweat more when we move more, i.e. exercising. Despite our most profound knowledge about fitness and health quite a few unfounded theories about drinking water during or after a workout session exist. This articles strives to shatter some of those.

Myth #1. Drinking water during or shortly after a training session is bad for your heart

It is true that drinking loads or cold water during a workout session has a negative impact on your heart. However, it has been proven that drinking cool or even slightly warm water and in moderate amounts helps the body to recover and takes the pressure off the heart.

Myth #2. You should drink 1 litter of water after a training session

This is fundamentally wrong since the amount required is different for everyone. To figure out the amount of water you need to drink after a workout you could weigh yourself before exercising and immediately after. If the difference is 100 oz, unfortunately, it is not fat that melted away – it does not go away that quickly. The scales indicate how much of water you have lost during exercising–1 oz of ‘lost’ weight equals 1 fl oz of water. In this case, you would need to drink 100 oz of cool ( not cold) water in 10-15 minutes. In addition, it is recommended to drink water in small amounts during exercising. Furthermore, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that athletes drink 16 ounces of fluids a couple of hours before starting their sports practice.

Myth #3. You must drink special drinks made for athletes after exercising session

What kind of drinks to use after a work out session depends on the intensity of exercising. While for professional athletes specially made drinks are necessary, for the rest of us drinking normal cool water is sufficient. Having said that, someone who sweats heavily during exercising would be losing a significant amount of mineral salts. For that reason it would be beneficial to drink mineral water that is rich in mineral salts to restore the levels.

Myth #4. The best drink after a work out session is juice

It is true and false. If you are trying to lose weight you would do better avoiding drinking juice after a workout. If your goal, however, is to grow muscle mass juice could be beneficial. Bear in mind that even athletes drink diluted juice after the work out.

Myth #5. If you are not thirsty your body does not require any water/fluids

It can be true and false. While we feel thirsty when we lack 0.5-1 litter of water we do not feel it when we need more than this amount. Therefore it is wrong to assume that your body is not dehydrated if you simply do not feel thirsty. The required amount of water in one’s body depends on many factors, e.g. general state of health, metabolism, nutrition method, level of physical activity, environmental conditions, and weight loss, etc. One of the easiest ways to find out whether your body requires more water is checking the urine color. If the color is light you’ve been drinking too much water, when it is dark – your body is dehydrated. (This rule does not apply if you are taking B vitamins). All the advice above, however, is for general public that exercise for their fitness and health benefits and not for professional athletes that have specially tailored routines and personal trainers. Some experts like Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania, claims that drinking water affects us much less that it is anticipated. His argument is that the amount of water we drink is significant in comparison to a total amount of fluids our bodies are made up of.

Coaching career