Most of us know that we need to exercise for a certain amount of time in a day or week. Some of us also know the exact kind of exercise needed -- the right mix of cardio, strength training, and yoga perhaps. However, even for the most informed, there’s a blind spot when it comes to working out- staying hydrated.

During any kind of exercise, the core temperature of the body rises, resulting in sweating and thereby significant loss of water. This is easy to forget when we’re more focused on the right form or on nailing those one-legged burpees - resulting in dehydration.

What is dehydration, really?

Simply put, it’s the state where your body loses more fluid than it takes in.

This creates an imbalance which disrupts the usual levels of salts and sugars present in the blood, which can interfere with the way the body functions. Dehydration can be potentially harmful as it affects the lubrication of joints, the digestion processes, as well as toxin clearance.

These are just some of the reasons why it’s important to stay hydrated during workouts - take a look at these guidelines for fluid replacement before, during and after your workout.

(source: American College of Sports Medicine)

Also Read: The H-to-O of Water Weight: Everything you need to know

What you should know about recommended fluid intake

Before Exercise

  • Drink 5-7 ml/kg of body-weight about couple of hours before exercise.
  • 350 to 500 ml for about 70 kg of body weight.
  • Sodium-containing beverages or salted snacks can help retain fluids. However, this needn’t be considered unless participating in an intense sport such as a marathon.

During exercise

  • Monitor changes in body weight during exercise to estimate weight loss.
  • Consider a combination of Sodium, potassium and carbohydrates during exercise.
  • Amount & rate of fluid replacement sometimes depends upon individual sweating rate, environment (heat/cold/humid) and exercise duration.

After exercise

  • Consumption of normal meals & beverages will restore hydration.
  • In case of excessive sweating where you might have lost more than 2% of body-weight.
  • Drink 1.5 litre/ kg of body-weight lost (This is largely relevant for intense sports in extreme weather conditions).
  • The main goal here is to fully restore fluid & electrolyte deficits.


These are before, during, and post-workout guidelines.

It does not factor in the fluid loss that can occur in other activities for which it's best to keep sipping water throughout the day.

If you workout regularly, ensure you record your body weight daily to prevent dehydration. For example, if you have lost  2 kg or so of body water during an intense workout, this water should be replaced before exercising the subsequent day. If you are unable to do the above, it's best to avoid exercising or at least limit the intensity.

Coming back to the guidelines- it’s likely that you may not be able to weigh yourself after every exercise and follow these rules precisely.

So, here’s a simpler rule for water intake during workouts- just keep sipping on water at regular intervals even if you don’t feel thirsty. This will help prevent sweat-related weight loss. Unless working out in extreme weather conditions, re-hydration with water is adequate i.e. sports drinks are not required.

The Takeaway

Drink water regularly- whether or not you workout, but especially when you work out. Replenish your body while you work hard, and stay hydrated while you crush those burpees!

Credits - Rishabh Telang

Dec 3, 2020
Healthy Eating

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