Everyone knows staying hydrated is important. Add heat and physical activity to the mix, and it becomes absolutely vital. We sat down with Vishal Patel, education and innovations leader for Seattle-based hydration company Nuun, and discussed hydration tips we should all keep in mind while exercising in the Northwest this summer.
1. Get acclimated to the heat
“In order to stay safe in the sun, you’ve first got to give yourself time to get used to working out at higher temperatures,” says Patel.
“Let your body adjust for at least a week, keeping your workouts at a moderate intensity, before you perform anything at a high intensity outside.”
2. Focus on daily hydration
Patel suggests getting into the habit of drinking water throughout the day and staying properly hydrated on a regular basis. You’ll be better prepared going into your workouts and more likely to avoid the side effects of dehydration (headaches, cramping, fatigue, etc.).
“Men should shoot to consume 3.5 liters of water daily; women should strive for 2.5 liters,” says Patel.
3. Replenish your electrolytes
“Simple water is great for daily hydration. But when you’re exercising, drinking plain water could induce hyponatremia, a potentially life-threatening heat-related illness that occurs when your sodium levels are too diluted in the bloodstream,” notes Patel.
“Sodium and potassium are the two key electrolytes that you lose in sweat, so any electrolyte-replacement beverage you choose should be rich in these. Nuun offers a complete blend of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which all play key roles in helping your muscles and bones function properly while exercising.”
4. Sip while you spin
“If you’re out for a long bike ride (2+ hours), your goal should be to consume 16 to 24 ounces of an electrolyte drink per hour, especially if you’re sweating a lot. Simply take a few sips every 20 minutes or so,” says Patel.
5. Make a run for it
“I normally say that if you’re doing an easy run, under an hour, you’re probably okay with just drinking water if you need or want it,” says Patel.
“However, if you’re out there longer than an hour and/or pushing the pace really hard, then you should replenish electrolytes as you go.”
6. Rehydrate, then refuel
“Use Nuun (or another electrolyte-replacement beverage that is low in added sugar) for rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes, and then use whatever else you want (bars, gels, etc.) to refuel your calories,” says Patel.
Our Northwest summers are too precious to miss. While you’re out there eating up the sun, don’t forget your body also needs to drink!