As the warm weather sets in, many are preparing to take their exercise outdoors. Before heading out for your next run, make sure you are properly hydrated! Below I will share awesome tips to ensure you are fueled and ready to go.
The heat of the outdoor sun combined with the movement of our body creates sweat.
Perspiration, or sweat as most of us would call it, is the combination of water and minerals released from our skin in an effort to cool our bodies down.
To properly restore the water and minerals we lose when we sweat, follow these helpful tips on adequate water and natural electrolyte consumption.
When exercising, athletes often reach for water to quench their thirst. However, electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate and hydrogen carbonate are lost through sweat, and water alone cannot replenish those minerals.
According to the online healthcare publishing company titled Medical News Today [MNT], electrolytes are defined as any substance that contains free ions that behave as an electrically conductive medium. Humans need electrolytes to regulate our nervous system, muscle function and to properly hydrate our bodies. Not properly restoring electrolyte levels in the body, during or after exercise, can lead to dehydration, fatigue, muscle cramping and more.
In an effort to prevent dehydration amongst athletes and exercise enthusiasts, the American College of Sports Medicine [ACSM] created proper hydration standards. The ACSM suggests that those exercising outdoors, or for long periods of time, replenish the amount of fluid lost as well as the electrolytes lost during exercise. According to ACSM, the amount of fluids and electrolytes to consume should depend upon the individual, the amount of sweat perspired and the length or exertion level of exercise.
To avoid dehydration, the ACSM suggests that those participating in exercise drink16 to 20 fluid ounces of water, or a sports beverage, at least four hours before exercise with an additional 8 to 12 fluid ounces of water consumed 10 to 15 minutes before exercise.
During exercise, the ACSM suggests that exercisers drink three to eight fluid ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising less than 60 minutes. If exercise is longer than 60 minutes, the ACSM suggests that those partaking in exercise consume three to eight fluid ounces of a sport beverage, made up of carbohydrates and electrolytes, every 15 to 20 minutes. The ACSM warns that those exercising do not drink more than one quart per hour to avoid over hydrating.
Once exercise in completed, the ACSM suggests that those partaking in exercise estimate their fluid losses and restore the amount lost within two hours. According to the ACSM, if you were to feel very thin after a bout of exercise, this is the result of fluid loss and not weight loss, therefore the steps to properly restore fluids should be taken.
Proper rehydration fluids generally include a carbohydrate that also offers electrolyte minerals. The ACSM stated that a liquid that includes a carbohydrate, or sugar, will replenish lost glycogen in the muscles. Look for drinks that contain carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. Personally, I chose whole, organic foods and drinks and I avoid beverages with white granulated sugar or unknown ingredients. My favorite thing to do for a long run is pack my water bottle with diluted organic coconut water. I use two parts water to one part coconut water.
Other healthy, natural options to replenish electrolytes include lemon water with honey and a touch of salt, orange-infused water, or electrolyte-filled snacks. My favorite go-to foods to eat during a run include: bananas, raisins and oranges. Each food of these foods contain electrolytes and carbohydrates to allow your body to properly restore the lost water and minerals levels, while also providing needed energy to sustain you.
Most fruits and vegetables contain electrolytes and are filled with water, therefore allowing most raw fruit and vegetables to also serve as a great choice. Aside from natural foods, there are many items available for purchase that offer electrolytes. These options include salt tablets, electrolyte-filled chews and gels, as well as electrolyte tablets and powders. I personally favor natural foods during my runs. Since incorporating coconut water into my workout routines I have felt much more energy; I have been able to recover more quickly and I have completely avoided brain fog towards the end of my runs. However, if a supplement or tablet is more appealing to you, give it a try!
Be mindful of your body and listen to it if you do chose to run when it is hot outside. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are very serious and you could end up in the ER instead of with a PR. And please don’t forget your sunscreen!
We are only a few months away from the big day! I want to inspire you to leave your excuses behind and to start running, but please use your head on truly hot days. Stay hydrated, enjoy your run and stick to your training. You will be glad you did.
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up,”
-Ultramarathon champion Dean Karrnazes
Active Runner and Exercise Enthusiast
Angela is currently seeking her:
-Holistic Health Coaching Certificate at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)
-Personal Trainer Certificate at the American Council on Exercise (ACE)
For more information on Angela, check out her website: Anglea Joy Nutrition