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Last week’s blog talked about how good nutrition is essential to have a good running experience. In addition to good nutritional choices, you also must stay hydrated. When you are hydrated, your body will be ready for any challenges that you want to take on. Staying hydrated can help your physical and mental aspects in a race or other athletic activity. You can perform better when you drink plenty of water.

 

There are many benefits to drinking water. A properly hydrated athlete can feel healthier, have increased energy, and be mentally ready to stay focused. “Water is easily digested in the stomach, replaces sweat losses, regulates body temperature, and assists with the transportation of nutrients to organs in your body, during an athletic event,” said Tiffanie Porterfield, RDN, clinical dietitian, DaVita Dialysis. Water can help your performance and can strengthen your body.

 

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The amount of water you drink can depend on different variables. “There are many variables that may impact hydration such as the intensity of exercise, duration, and environment of competition,” said Porterfield. The amount of water an athlete drinks can depend on age or weight. Each of these factors can determine how much water should be consumed. For example, an athlete that is 9-12 years old should drink about 1-1.5 liters of water every hour. The amount you drink depends on how much you need.

 

When you don’t drink enough water, it can result in dehydration. Porterfield explained, “Dehydration is when an excess amount of fluid is lost and not replaced leading to mild to severe signs and symptoms.” Not drinking water can keep you from doing well, during the activities you love. During your run, if you experience headaches, muscle cramping, or dizziness, you may be dehydrated. You most likely need to drink more water.

 

If you are dehydrated, that does not mean that you need drink a large quantity of water in that exact moment. You should drink water in small, frequent quantities. Keep in mind that drinking too much water, at one time, can also harm you. If you hydrate too much, your sodium levels could decrease and you could get a disease called hyponatremia. This can cause frequent urination, nausea, and vomiting. Therefore, you have to drink the right amount of water based on your needs. Your body needs water, but too much water can hurt it.

 

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Athletes need water to perform well in all athletic situations. Water keeps you from dehydration. As a runner, and with Summer approaching, it is so important for us all to listen to our bodies and ensure it gets the water consumption needed so we can keep running. Remember that hydration is essential to be a better runner, and it can make your body feel good, too. Don’t let dehydration keep you from reaching your full potential and accomplishing all your goals.