We’ve heard it so many times, that it probably just goes in one ear and out the other: you’ve got to drink water before you exercise, while you exercise, and after you exercise. Right, yeah, got it. But how much water do you really drink when you exercise? I thought I was doing enough, but my legs ached after every run I took, so I did some reading. Turns out, I wasn’t drinking nearly enough water or drinking it at the right times. I was putting myself at risk for serious fatigue, headaches, muscle cramping, and, during summer months, heat exhaustion. So, today we’re going to talk about how you should hydrate for a run or jog to improve performance and your health.
No one likes a stomach full of sloshing water when they run, so you probably skimp on the water you drink before hitting the trails. Am I right? Maybe that was just me. The key is to spread out and plan your hydration before heading out. Runner’s World recommends drinking eight to 16 ounces of water or a sports drink one to two hours before a run. Did you decide to go for a run on the spur of the moment? Drink at least four to eight ounces of fluid 15 or 30 minutes before you go out. Needless to say, you should pair your hydration with thorough stretching to warm up your muscles and decrease the risk of injury.
Hydrating while exercising may sound a little awkward, but there are plenty of products out there to help you keep a water bottle handy while jogging. When you keep water or a sports drink with you, you’re far more likely to sip from it as you get thirsty. And this drinking to thirst is really the best way to stay hydrated. Drink when you’re thirsty—makes sense, huh? But if you want something more concrete than that, Running.com recommends drinking four to six ounces of fluids every 20 minutes during your runs. Listen to your body: drink when you’re thirsty, stop if anything hurts.
When you’ve finished your run for the day, it’s time to cool down. Don’t just plop onto the couch and stop moving. Walk for a few minutes after, stretch, and drink fluids, whether that’s more water or a carb-and-protein sports drink. Active.com recommends a variety of post-run beverages, some of which may surprise you (chocolate milk!).