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Why drink? How to drink? And when to drink? Many athletes wonder about these three questions.

During a cardio workout, you sweat and lose not only water, but also mineral salts such as sodium and potassium, for example. What are the recommendations for performing, recovering well, and avoiding injuries?

Here are all our tips for optimal hydration.

Why is hydration so important?

On average, the human body is made up of 65% water. Since our bodies can't store water, it is important to balance losses by supplying more water.

     -  Water losses are connected to perspiration, urine, and breathing
     -  Water is supplied by food and beverages

You should regularly maintain your water supply throughout the day. It depends on the type of cardio workout, its length, and the temperature (heated or air conditioned gym).

Note: Water losses of 1 to 2% cause a performance decrease of 10%.
So remember to drink.

Are you dehydrated? What are the symptoms?

Do you have cramps, muscle spasms, or tendinitis?

Do you feel constantly tired (chronic fatigue) or have lowered athletic performance? Do you feel intensely thirsty, combined with digestive trouble?

Your body lacks water and cannot function correctly. So it is sending you distress signals. It is saying, "I'm thirsty!" since you're dehydrated and it doesn't like that at all!

Also watch out for hypothermia! Water helps to regulate your body temperature. During a cardio workout at the gym or outdoors in hot weather, you can get heatstroke, which can be very serious for your health!

An important rule to remember: Drink before you're thirsty!

cardiofitness-hydration

How and when to hydrate?

Before your cardio fitness workout

Drink small quantities of water regularly throughout the day. The recommendation is from 1.5 to 2 L per day, including black tea, herbal tea, and food.

Distribute those 1.5 L well: we recommend drinking 500 ml in the morning, 500 ml in the afternoon, and 500 ml in the evening

During your cardio fitness workout

For a workout under 1 hour: Just water is enough. Keep hydrating regularly during your workout.

For a workout over 1 hour: we recommend adding a bit of sugar and a bit of salt. This will create an ideal isotonic beverage for long-term endurance work.

What is an isotonic beverage? It is a beverage whose density gets as close as possible to that of blood plasma. This optimises its intestinal absorption. Hydration with an intake of carbohydrates and mineral salts is ideal.

Isotonic beverages are sold in stores specialising in sports nutrition, but if you'd like, you can make them yourself.

Feel like a simple, quick, and effective recipe? Here it is:

For 1 litre of water:
     - 30 to 40 g of maltodextrin
     - 30 g (hot weather) to 70 g (cold weather) of sugar (sucrose) or syrup.
     - Add a pinch of salt.

After your cardio fitness workout

Just after training and until bedtime: Keep hydrating to eliminate toxins, promote recovery, and replenish your sodium (salt) reserves.

If you sweat a lot, sodium-enriched water will be very helpful.

Add a pinch of salt to 500 ml in the evening, or consume bottled water with natural salts.

Enjoy your workout and don't forget to drink!

Feel free to share your experiences with us.

Leave us a comment!

JULIE_SIGNATURE

Julie

DECATHLON Communication Team

A passionate cardio fitness, pilates and nutrition coach. Mum to two little boys who can only be described as... super active!