Woman running on Treadmill

Drink Up: 3 Tests to Check Your Hydration

The New York Times released a fascinating article earlier this week citing the rise of bottled water sales—and the decline in soda consumption. “By the end of this decade, if not sooner, sales of bottled water are expected to surpass those of carbonated soft drinks, according to Michael C. Bellas, chief executive of the Beverage Marketing Corporation,” wrote Stephanie Strom.

This exciting loyalty to good old H2O could be attributed to the public’s concern about health problems like obesity and related diseases. When you take a look at the volume of tap water supplied by the U.S. water utilities—“more than 1 billion gallons of tap water an hour, every hour of the day”—bottled water hardly competes. “The total amount of water in the bottles Americans buy in a year would only supply U.S. tap water needs from midnight until 9 a.m. on January 1,” shared a National Geographic news article.

Whether you prefer tap water or an on-the-go bottle of water, athletes have long understood the benefits of proper hydration. But it’s great to hear the rest of the world is catching on as well. Strom pointed out a recent endorsement by our very own First Lady. “Last month, Michelle Obama heavily endorsed water … to persuade Americans to drink more of it.”

After all, water makes up two-thirds of muscle tissue and 25 percent of fatty tissue. It serves an important function within each individual cell transporting nutrients and dispelling waste. Water regulates body temperature allowing heat to evaporate in the form of sweat. And in just one hour of exercise, “the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on air temperature and the intensity of exercise,” explained Richard Seven in his article titled “How Much Water Do Athletes Need?”

So let’s take a look at three self-tests you can try before, during, and after a good workout to find out if you are staying sufficiently hydrated.

 

The Sweat Test

 

1)   Weigh yourself on a digital scale.

2)   Run on a treadmill for one hour.

3)   Towel off and weigh in again.

 

“This will tell you about how much fluid you are losing from sweat—and about how much you will need to replenish during exercise. (A gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds, so if you’re down a pound you’ve lost about a pint,)” Seven shared.

 

The Formula

 

1)   Write down your body weight in pounds.

2)   Times that number by 0.5.

3)   If you exercise heavily, consider multiplying that number by 0.75 or 1.

 

The resulting number tells you how many ounces of water to drink per day. This test and the next were provided in an article titled “How Much Water Should You Drink?” written by Elizabeth Quinn.

 

The Two-Hour Test

 

1)   Two hours before your workout, drink 2-3 cups of water.

2)   Then weigh yourself immediately before you begin your workout.

3)   Begin your workout.

4)   Drink one cup of water every 15 minutes throughout your workout.

5)   When you finish your workout, weigh yourself again.

6)   Drink 2-3 cups of water for each pound you lost during exercise.

 

Now, if you are exercising more than 90 minutes at a moderate to high intensity, your body is going to want more than plain water, explained Quinn. “You need to replenish glycogen stores with easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Sports drinks can be an easy way to add the necessary energy.” She recommends choosing a drink with “60 to 100 calories per eight ounces and consume eight to ten ounces every 15 to 30 minutes based upon your preference.”

Staying hydrated is more than important—it is essential to maintaining your best health. Take it on the go throughout your workday and be sure to keep your water bottle close through your daily workouts. Drink up!

 

 

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