5 Hydration Dos and Dont's
Drink up! But what?
5. Do and Do Again: Drink Water
For less-intensive exercisers, water will do, says Zeisel.
Don't even bother with bottled water -- good old tap water works just fine.
"When it comes to exercise and water loss, tap water and bottled water are all
However, a new "fitness water" called "Propel" has a light
flavoring and a few antioxidant vitamins -- not intended to help performance,
just to add to a healthy diet, says Mary Horn, MS, a research scientist at the
Gatorade Sports Institute.
Flavorings in beverages "encourage the exerciser or athlete to
drink more and stay hydrated better," she tells WebMD. "Our research shows that
both the taste and sodium content of Gatorade naturally make people drink more
of it, so they get the hydration they need."
It's totally true -- that little bit of flavoring does make
people hydrate themselves better, says Bonci. "Water doesn't have any flavor,
it's flat. Water alone can cause people to stop drinking before their fluid
needs are met."
Carmichael's not convinced. "I don't think [fitness water] does
a great job of anything. It's a marketing ploy," he tells WebMD.
How Much Should You Drink?
If you're exercising intensively in the morning, "A sports drink is better
than being on empty," says Bonci. "Most people find they do better if they have
something, but it can be solid or liquid form."
While you're exercising: "Thirst is not a good indicator at all," says
Bonci. "If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated."
Drink something every 15 to 20 minutes, if possible: Since that's not
possible in all sports, you may have to drink more before you exercise, so you
have enough in your body.
Don't try something new before competition: "That's a recipe for disaster,"
Bonci tells WebMD. The body needs to get used to new fluids, so do it really,
Don't drink sports drinks during couch-potato hours. "Those extra
Don't drink fruit juices before exercise: "They're a very, very concentrated
form of carbohydrate," advises Bonci. "That means you might get an upset
stomach or a laxative effect. You'll be running, but not necessarily on the