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The 6 Most Basic Hydration Rules Every Athlete Should Know

News Summary:

eight glasses of water might not be nearly enough per day.

News Content:

1) Myth: You need 8 glasses of water per day.

In reality, eight glasses might not be nearly enough, especially if you’re an endurance athlete or live in an arid climate. A much better guideline is the pee test, says Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.N., a nutritionist with the Mayo Clinic. “If you’re peeing every couple of hours and it’s a very pale lemonade color, you’re good.”

2) Myth: You need constant water breaks while training.

A typical gym session doesn’t require any extra hydration at all (as long as you’re well-hydrated to begin with). And even a sub-one-hour cardio workout requires only a slight uptick in water intake. However, once your workout surpasses 60 minutes, you do need to start replacing salts and electrolytes lost during training.

3) Myth: In winter you don’t need to drink as much.

While you may not feel as thirsty, your hydration needs are no different in winter—and may even be higher. A small study of 17 men in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that guys working out in 39°F were 40% less thirsty than guys working out in 80°. “You’re not sweating as noticeably, but you are still sweating,” says Zeratsky. “It’s just evaporating rather than sticking to your skin.”

4) Myth: Vitamin- and mineral-infused water is better.

Unless you’re losing these vitamins and minerals in your day-to-day life—which most of us aren’t—there’s no need for the additives. Marion Nestle, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at NYU, says you’re likely getting enough of these nutrients through your diet.

5) Myth: Coffee doesn’t count.

Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated pick-me-ups count toward your daily H20 goals. A three-day, observational study of 50 male coffee drinkers (who consumed three to six cups of coffee per day) published in the journal PLOS One suggests that coffee, when consumed in moderation by caffeine-habituated males, provides similar hydrating qualities to water. But it’s even better if coffee is your second drink of the day, following some water.

6) Myth: You can “catch up” by chugging a liter of water at 3 p.m.

The workday is nearly over and you realize you’ve had one glass of water all day. Unfortunately, you can’t make up for it by downing a whole bottle.

“If you take in a large volume of liquid all at once, it’s going to go right through you,” says Zeratsky. “It’s too much for your body to process.”

Instead, don’t get into this situation in the first place: Always keep a full bottle of water in sight on your desk during the day. And set alerts on your phone to remind you to drink every 30 minutes.

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