Jacy Shaffer is a registered dietitian with our friends at Cross Conditioning Training and has some great advice on how to get and stay hydrated as you navigate working out during the hottest summer months. Read on for details!
Let’s talk hydration. It’s always necessary, but especially so if you’re planning a workout outside in the heat. Besides hydration, you might be wondering about electrolyte replacement. And what about for someone who is exercising inside, but still working up a sweat? Here are my thoughts on this, with the “everyday exerciser” in mind.
The best part about nutrition is that it can be individualized for each person, but there will still be common guidelines. First: water. Let’s say you start with the 8 cups/day recommendation. It’s a great starting point, but there are different factors that affect hydration needs, such as the temperature, type of activity and intensity level, and overall diet.
For someone working out once a day, about 30-60 minutes, water and your next nutrient-rich meal should be just fine to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Aim to consume this meal within 2 hours post-activity. Key electrolytes that are lost through sweat (sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium) are essential minerals that are abundant in fruits and vegetables.
For someone who is exercising longer than 60 minutes, or outside in the summer heat, an electrolyte-rich drink with carbohydrates might be a better option. That is because it can accelerate rehydration.
Additionally, hydration status is impacted by fluids other than water alone. Any liquid can count towards your fluid needs (water is best). High water content foods also contribute to hydration needs: think melons, cucumbers, pineapple, bell peppers, lettuce, squash – yet another great reason to prioritize your fruits and vegetables throughout the day. This time of year I love adding peaches to oatmeal or yogurt. You can also consider replacing chips with carrot sticks or cucumbers and dip.