Are You Under-Hydrating?
Hydration needs vary from person to person, and no two people are alike. That being said, closely monitoring how you feel and your urine production should keep you within normal limits. Though we tend to get thirsty when we need something to drink, dehydration can happen due to excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or illness. Dehydration is influenced by environmental factors like humidity and temperature. You could be mildly dehydrated without even knowing it.
The signs of dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Hours without having to go to the bathroom (Urine will likely be dark yellow)
- Dry skin
- Dizziness, lightheaded, possibly low blood pressure
Importance Of Hydration For Athletes
Your hydration status has major effects on both physical and mental performance. So, staying hydrated is important to almost every aspect of your athletic performance. Many studies have shown a loss of fluid equal to 2% of body mass is sufficient to cause a detectable decrease in performance (4).
For instance, hydrated muscles function better than dehydrated muscles. Staying hydrated helps maintain normal blood pressure during exercise. In other words, your heart will not have to work harder than it needs to maintain normal blood pressure. Blood flow and circulation also improve, which aids in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles. Good hydration also aids in the removal of metabolic by-products and waste from muscles, while replacing the water that is lost through sweat (3).
If you work out for less than an hour, water may be a sufficient source for hydration. However, for many athletes, water is not enough, and a sports drink with electrolytes is recommended.
The Importance Of Electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals that can carry an electric charge. This function is important in many bodily processes. Including, nerve function, neuron communication, blood pressure regulation, muscle contraction, and the transfer of nutrients in and out of cells. In short, these processes should work smoothly during exercise to avoid muscle cramping, loss of focus, and fatigue.
When dehydrated, your muscles are more likely to cramp or ache. Since 75% of muscle tissue is water, your muscles will feel fatigued and might be more prone to damage if your body’s water levels are low. Sodium assists in regulating the amount of water in your body. And, can help your body retain more water, keeping you hydrated.
Potassium is important for many functions including regulating heartbeat, ensuring proper muscle function, and helping transmit nerve impulses. Muscles both absorb and release potassium as they contract and release. That being said, if your muscles do not have enough potassium, they become weak and fatigued. A balance of potassium is beneficial to maintain muscle tone and fight muscle fatigue and cramps.
Phosphorus is the 2nd most abundant mineral in the body and is needed for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. In other words, due to its importance for tissue growth and repair, Phosphorus aids in muscle repair and post-workout pain relief. Additionally, phosphorus helps your body be able to absorb and use other nutrients.
Calcium not only is good for bone health, but also aids in muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. That being said, if you are calcium deficient, your body borrows this mineral from your bones to provide for your blood and muscles.
How To Stay Hydrated
Electrolytes are increasingly important now that summer is approaching! If you exercise in the heat and sweating heavily, consume an electrolyte enhanced beverage an hour before and throughout activity (1).
The American Council on Exercise suggests this basic guideline:
- 17-20 oz 2-3 hours before exercise
- 8 oz 20-30 minutes before exercising or during a warm-up
- 7-10 oz every 10-20 minutes during exercise
- 8 oz no more than 30 minutes after you exercise (6)
Try aminoVITAL Action for sugar-free hydration. Action contains a mixture of 5 amino acids plus electrolytes. Every ingredient serves a specific purpose to reduce muscle and mental fatigue while keeping you hydrated.
Try aminoVITAL Rapid Recovery for a boost in your recovery and hydration. Rapid Recovery contains amino acids, electrolytes, complex carbohydrates, and a little sugar. Each of these ingredients serves a specific purpose for your muscle recovery.
What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the broken down, most simple forms of protein. For instance, one of the benefits of supplementing with amino acids over protein is that, because they are in their simplest form, they are more quickly absorbed by the body. This is important since your muscles crave nutrition after exercise. Every amino acid offers a different function for your body. BCAAs, Glutamine, and Arginine provide distinct benefits for muscles.