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Beginners guide to developing your own hydration strategy

Getting your hydration right is one of the easiest strategies to boost your performance and health. It’s easy to forget to drink and we all perceive thirst very differently. These guidelines will help you to create your own drinking strategy to improve your performance.

Even a small amount of dehydration can impair mental and physical performance. Staying well hydrated during exercise is essential for optimal performance and recovery. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration status. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated enough to impair performance.

First and foremost, drinking fluid little and often throughout the day is recommended. You should be aiming to consume around 2-3 L a day. This may seem like an awful lot but this includes the fluid found in foods you eat such as, soups, fruit, vegetables etc. Considering your body is made up of ~60% water, it’s not an inconceivable amount to be drinking…….it just takes good habits.

urineChart

Urine colour is the simplest way to monitor your hydration status. Your urine colour should be pale first thing in the morning and throughout the day, particularly if you are going to be exercising.

Day-to-day

            During exercise

Drinks suitable during the day

Drinks suitable during exercise

Drinks to limit in your diet

Water

Squash (no added sugar)

Herbal tea

Fruit tea

Sports drinks

Diluted fruit juice

Squash

Water

Squash with a pinch of salt (hot weather)

Fruit juice

Energy drinks

Fizzy drinks

Coffee

Hot chocolate

Ready to drink milkshakes

Ready to drink smoothies