Be Mindful of Your Rehydration Choice After Exercise

Rehydration and exercise

It is obvious that after you exercise, you need to refuel your body, which includes replacing lost liquids. But what you choose to drink can be either helpful or harmful.

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New research published in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology has found that drinking soda after being exposed to heat-induced dehydration is a risk factor for chronic kidney damage.

Researchers studied rats over a period of four weeks and found that those who drank a liquid concoction containing the fructose and glucose content of a typical soft drink ended up more dehydrated and had worse kidney injury than rats that drank plain water or water sweetened with stevia.

"Our studies raise serious concerns for the common practice, especially among adolescents and young adults, to drink soft drinks as a means to quench thirst following an episode of dehydration," the authors wrote.

So what is the proper way to hydrate yourself for exercise? Katie Jeffrey, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, LDN offers the following tips on Active.com:

About 2 hours before a workout or event, drink 2 cups (8oz each) of fluid – water, 100% fruit juice or other nutrient-rich liquid (such as milk). This will give your kidneys enough time to process the liquid and give you ample opportunity to empty your bladder so it doesn’t interrupt your workout.

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Then, about 30 minutes prior, drink another 5 to 10 oz of water (one fluid ounce equals about a medium mouthful, says Ms. Jeffrey).

During a workout – especially an intense one, you should consider drinking about 6oz of fluid every 15 minutes.

After a workout, you need to replace the fluids that were lost. You can weigh yourself before and after exercise and estimate the volume you need. For each pound lost during activity, drink 24 oz. of fluid. If your body weight increased, you have overhydrated and you should drink less fluid in future exercise sessions.

Keep in mind that thirst is not an accurate indicator of dehydration. Monitor your urine output– your goal should be pale yellow in color.

Journal Reference:
Fernando E. Garcia-Arroyo, et al. Rehydration with Soft Drink-like Beverages Exacerbates Dehydration and Worsens Dehydration-associated Renal Injury. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 2016; ajpregu.00354.2015 DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00354.2015

Photo Credit: Picture taken and uploaded by Roger McLassus (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 3.0

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