The New Rules of Hydration

There’s a ton of misinformation about how much to hydrate and when, but the basics are actually pretty simple. Here’s what you need to know.

For easy workouts in cool weather lasting an hour or less, drinking only when you’re thirsty is fine. But if it’s at all hot or humid, or you’re going out for a long time, that won’t be adequate.

There’s an easy method to figure out exactly how much fluid you need: weigh yourself before you go out for an hour of exercise, and then weigh yourself again when you get home. That’s the weight of fluid you should be taking in per hour.

Just plain water won’t cut it for long events. Sodium helps your body regulate how much water a cell can hold. When your body’s sodium content drops to critically low levels, your cells take on too much water and swell. If you don’t like the taste of sports drinks, try electrolyte tablets.

When you drink, fluids must pass through your stomach and into your small intestines before being absorbed into your bloodstream. If your gut can manage it, it’s smarter to take a few long pulls off your bottle than tiny sips every ten minutes.

Sports drinks are a pretty simple mix of water, carbs, and electrolytes. It’s easy to DIY your own performance mix. You can dilute just about any juice in a one-to-one ratio (one part water, one part juice) and reach a nice 6 to 7 percent carbohydrate blend.

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