Now that summer is finally here, many people are heading outside to take part in their favorite physical activity such as running, walking, playing sports or joining in other organized physical activities.
It is very important to maintain optimal hydration levels when participating in physical activity. Even slight dehydration can hinder your performance.
If you are outside playing, you should be constantly drinking water to replace fluids lost to perspiration. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. By the time you become thirsty you are already dehydrated and your performance will suffer.
You should drink at least 500ml of fluid 2-3 hours before activity, and another 250ml 10-15 mins before your activity. This fluid is needed to achieve optimum hydration prior to exercise.
Be sure to maintain a regular intake of fluid during activity around 250ml every 15 minutes. For re-hydration after your activity, weigh yourself before and after and for each kilogram lost consume 1 litre of fluid. Many people mistake the weight lost during exercise as fat loss when it is actually fluid loss.
Water is the best choice for most people participating in regular physical activity, but I do often get questions about sports drinks. Sports drinks are good for activities that are longer in duration. If you plan on doing physical activity for more than 60 minutes you may want to consider taking sports drink to help replenish the carbohydrates and electrolytes lost during the activity.