If you were to Google the title of this blog “How much water should I drink when working out” you’d probably find a variety of different answers to the same question. Where one article might say “2.5 cups for every pound lost during exercise” another might say “drink ‘x’ amount of water before, during and after you workout” and another still “it depends on the intensity, duration and external temperature of your workout.”
Depending who you ask, you might get one of the above answers to your question or a combination of all of the above. While the answer to this question might not be as simple as you might have thought, we did want to provide you some kind of guideline based on significant research and documentation. To help us reach this goal, we decided that a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health would help shed some credibility to our quest. Below is our, and their, takeaway on adequate exercise and fluid replacement.
Before getting into the amounts of fluid we need to consider replacing, it pays to know why we need to supplement ourselves the way we do. Here’s the gist:
The below five recommendations are taken directly from a recommendation by the American College of Sports Medicine. It should be understood that their position is geared more towards individuals participating in regular physical activity and may not particularly apply to the occasional recreational enthusiast. Regardless, the following can be interpreted as general recommendations for the importance of water in the body during exercise:
1. Combine Diet and Fluids before Exercise– In the 24-hour period leading up to exercise, it is recommended that individuals consume a nutritionally balanced diet and adequate fluids. This especially pertains to the meal prior to exercise.
2. Drink an Adequate Amount of Fluid Leading up to Exercise– Specifically, the recommendation provided was to drink about 17 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise to promote hydration and to give enough time to get rid of any excess water.
3. Drink Regularly during Exercise– It is advisable to drink early in the workout and continually in an effort to consume an equal amount to that which is lost sweating. A good rule of thumb is to drink 4-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes.
4. Drink Cooler Fluids– If possible, drink fluids that are 15 to 20 degrees cooler than room temperature.
5. Consume Carbs during Workouts over an Hour– For exercises that last an hour or more it is recommended that a proper amount of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes are included in a fluid replacement to enhance performance over longer bouts of time. Many sports drinks, like Gatorade, provide these recommended nutrients.
It was mentioned above that sports drinks are a viable option for workouts over one hour. The fluid of choice for everything else is filtered water. Filtered water has no calories, no sugar, is less expensive and is basically free out of your tap. We recommend filtered water because it has been filtered of such harmful contaminants as arsenic, aluminum, fluoride, lead and other toxins. Check out our full line of water filters that will help you to stay healthy and will save you a considerable amount of money over expensive sports or energy drinks.
When working out, keep in mind your body will provide you the best indication of how much water you should be drinking. If you are sweating profusely, are feeling overheated or are just plain thirsty, these can be indicators that you need to drink more water.