Article by Nella Foulds – MNU Certified Consultant Nutritionist and recipe creator for ‘The Lean Cook’
We’ve all heard that we should drink at least 8 glasses a day but is that enough or too much?
Our body is 50-70% water, so why is it important to drink so much if our body composition is so full of the stuff? Well it has several roles including being a major component of blood plasma and it also helps to remove toxins from the blood so helping the immune system. All good so far!
But if we turn our attention to the role that hydration plays in your sports performance, did you know that if you were to run in a dehydrated state, you would experience two things:-
- Your heart rate would be higher
- The exertion is perceived to be harder
Running can be challenging but if you’re dehydrated to start with then you’re only making it harder for yourself.
A sports nutritionist can help an athlete dial-in their nutrition and hydration strategies for performance but if you’re setting off on a run and you’re already thirsty, it’s already too late. You’re under prepared.
Here are 3 things you can do to stay on top of your hydration:-
- Take cues from your urine colour. If it’s pale yellow like lemonade then you’re hydrated, but if it’s the colour of apple juice or darker you need drink up! If your urine has no colour to it then chances are you are over hydrated. Drinking too much water (in general or quickly) can cause a condition called hyponatraemia. This is where your sodium levels become dangerously low.
- When we think about hydration we automatically think water right? The hydration index shows that an oral rehydration solution comes tops, but that’s closely followed by skimmed milk and then full fat milk.
- Consider your consumption of alcohol and how it maybe affecting your training. Having a few beers the night before a training session or event may help you relax but alcohol can be dehydrating, which means even if you’re not hungover, your training session or race may suffer. Don’t skip the beer altogether, just have one large glass of water for every alcoholic beverage to counteract the effect of your beer!
When it comes to hydration for health it’s really simple. Drink plenty of water to maintain a clear urine colour. The clearer your urine colour, the more hydrated you are but don’t take it too far.
Article by Nella Foulds
Nella is a MNU Certified Consultant Nutritionist and has her own nutrition practice specialising in Sports, Performance, Weight loss and Clinical Condition. www.nellanutrition.com
She is also the founder and creator of ‘The Lean Cook’ with over 330 healthy, nutritionally balanced everyday recipes perfect for runners.