How to Rehydrate Quickly After Exercise?
How to effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise?
It is important to rehydrate quickly after exercise to avoid dehydration effects on your body. Experts agree that the best way to beat symptoms of dehydration is to effectively rehydrate with isotonic fluids. These are liquids that have a roughly similar tonicity or osmolality (or thickness, if loosely termed) as your blood. Fluids that have an osmolality significantly lower than that of blood are hypotonic and are poor in solutes or electrolytes. The normal blood osmolality is around 275-280 mOsm/Kg but can rise to a level of 295 due to dehydration effects on your body. This is the stimulus for thirst that prompts an individual to drink after you are dehydrated. Isotonic fluids replace water that is lost in the sweat but also replenish electrolytes. This allows maintenance of the blood electrolyte levels (particularly of sodium) within a normal range after the replacement of water deficit is complete, and is the reason symptoms like fatigue and tiredness are less in athletes consuming isotonic fluids. Moreover, isotonic fluids lead to a lesser incidence of hyponatremia (low sodium), which is a potentially dangerous condition resulting from dehydration seen in endurance athletes if they consume too much water without any electrolytes.
Why rehydrating quickly after exercise requires not just water but electrolytes also
While physical activity is just one of the causes of dehydration it is the most common. You need to effectively rehydrate after exercise-related dehydration since the level of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) in the blood is high. The level of ADH in the blood conserves water through the kidneys by minimizing its excretion in the urine (hence the reason urine is darker in a dehydrated state). If the athlete rehdyrates quickly by drinking water without salt, the total body water deficit is replaced, but that of sodium is not. Thus, the ongoing sodium loss and a high ADH level cause from rehydrating quickly without salt lead to a drop in blood sodium levels which can be severe. Therefore, rehydrating quickly with just water and no salt creates hyponatremia, a stage that leads to confusion, headaches, nausea and, in severe cases, seizures. The treatment of hyponatremia is hypertonic (or highly concentrated – 3%) saline given intravenously to bring the sodium level in the blood to a higher level. Although treatable, hyponatremia can cause significant distress as well as hospitalization. The best way to effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise and prevent hyponatremia is by using an isotonic electrolyte sports drink mix, which delivers sufficient quantity of sodium (300 mg per 16 fl. oz. of water) to replace the deficit from sweat.
Hyponatremia Definition: A condition characterized by confusion, headaches, nausea and, in severe cases, seizures. This happens when athletes attempt to rehydrate quickly after exercise to replace water but don’t replace the salt that is lost through sweat. This results in high ADH level in the blood. with just water and does not replace lost salt and causes Hyponatremia.
Variables to consider to rehydrating quickly after exercise
Choice of fluid for rehydration. The sports drink industry frequently introduces a new electrolyte drink mix. The market is so crowded with electrolyte sports drinks that it leads athletes to wonder what the best electrolyte drink is to rehydrate quickly after exercise to replenish fluids after those intense workouts. As mentioned above, there is a general consensus that to effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise – an isotonic drinks is recommended. An electrolyte mix that is comprised of salts and some sugar diluted in water keeps the body well hydrated by replacing both water and electrolytes – helping to prevent hyponatremia. Ideally, the electrolyte mix should contain the three vital electrolytes – magnesium, sodium and potassium. Each of these electrolytes affect distinct cellular activities that change muscle dynamics and thus influence performance. Few electrolyte powders currently available in the market have the correct proportions of electrolytes that can make a clinical difference in muscle function.
Magnesium, sodium and potassium are three vital electrolyte needed to rehydrate quickly after exercise.
Frequency of fluid intake. This may be variable amongst athletes, but in general, the thirst reflex dictates the frequency, and at times also the quantity, of fluid intake. In order to hydrate quickly after exercise it is usually a good idea to hydrate continuously during an activity or during hot conditions using sips of electrolyte-rich water that continuously flow into the system. A typical regimen would includes 6-8 fl oz of solution every 15-20 minutes during a hike to effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise with electrolytes. At times, this may need to be increased based on intensity of activity and rate of fluid loss. High intensity training (HIT workout) may require twice the amount of fluid replaced in that interval depending upon the weather and electrolyte losses. This will help you effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise.
Quantity of rehydrating fluids How to hydrate quickly after exercise depends hinges on the right amount of fluids? As a general rule rehydrate quickly after exercise with the following table:
Rehydrating quickly for an average-sized individual (~70 kg of body weight) requires 1 liter of fluid intake during a mild-moderate activity during cool-warm weather conditions. As the temperature and humidity in the environment rises with the intensity of the activity (imagine a bike ride in the Florida summer), fluid requirements could be as high as 1 liter/hour. Thus, one needs to account for a variety of factors while considering the best way to stay hydrated. In fact, how to rehydrate quickly after exercise efficiently is an art vs an exact science. Some sports experts recommend front-loading with 8-10 fl oz of an electrolyte drink prior to the beginning of the rigorous physical activity, and proceeding with another 6-8 fl oz every 15-20 minutes as needed to stay hydrated during rigorous activity. Taking notes on weight before and after activity can help you understand how to effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise based on your body. Keep track of symptoms developed also. This allows tweaking of individual requirements and leaves sufficient room for improvement in rehydration practices that can significantly improve sports performance to give athletes the edge in a competition.
Sugar quantity in rehydration solutions: To rehydrate quickly after exercise you need sugars to increase the osmolality of the solution and delay their absorption from the intestine. While some sugar is needed to provide you with an immediate supply of energy it also provides absorption through specialized channels, too much sugar (> 10 g/ 8 fl oz serving) can delay the nutrient transport by pulling water into the gut by principle of osmosis – this prevents you from rehydrating quickly during exercise. The best way to rehydrate quickly after exercise effectively using an electrolyte beverage is with lesser amount of sugar or carbohydrates to allow for rapid absorption of water and nutrients into the bloodstream that can help sustain your workouts.
Too much sugar inhibits quick rehydration efforts during exercise since sugar pulls water into the gut by principle of osmosis.
Caffeine intake during dehydration: Caffeine can be a natural stimulant that can help provide energy but caffeine has a diuretic effect that stimulates urine output and can make you lose more water preventing rehydration effects on your body and enabling dehydration effects on your body. Additionally, caffeine stimulates the heart to pump faster, increasing your heart rate which is already stimulated during exercise due to release of catecholamines. Caffeine during exercise does not enhance performance based on studies and caffeinated drinks are not the best way to effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise since this is one of the causes of dehydration.
Utilization of magnesium-rich formulas to effectively rehydrate One of the critical electrolytes that has been missing in many sports or electrolyte drinks is magnesium. Most people do not get enough magnesium in their diet to rehydrate quickly after exercise. This subclinical deficiency causes a magnesium-depleted status and predisposes athletes to muscle cramps and soreness. Using a magnesium-rich formula to effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise allows athletes to correct their magnesium-deficient status and reduces cramping. Magnesium has been shown to improve muscle strength and performance in some individuals when supplemented for a 3-month period in a clinical study. Adding magnesium-rich foods to your athlete diet, (unless you have a medical condition like a heart or kidney condition) to help you effectively rehydrate quickly after exercise.
How to rehydrating quickly after exercise summary
In summary, to rehydrating quickly after exercise consume water with three vital electrolytes – magnesium, sodium and potassium and track your body through trial and error to see how your weight fluctuates and how systems of dehydration make you feel.