How much water is necessary for a workout?

Drinking water is crucial before, during and after your workout. In fact, it may help you get a more effective workout if you are properly hydrated. Being hydrated before you exercise helps lubricate your body so that it performs more effectively. Additionally, you need to drink water to replace the fluids that leave your body during exercise from sweating and breathing harder. If you are not properly hydrated for your workout, it may cause heat exhaustion, muscle cramping and fatigue, and possibly leave you more susceptible to muscle pain afterwards. Plus, drinking water after exercise may help improve your recovery.

Water recommendations vary from person to person and depend on the type, length, intensity and conditions of your workout (for example, jogging outside on a hot day). Nevertheless, the American College of Sports Medicine offers the following general recommendations for hydration before, during and after exercise:

  • Pre-workout:

    Drink 2 to 3 cups of water within 4 hours of your exercise start time. Drink an additional 1 to 1 ½ cups of water 10 to 15 minutes prior to your workout.

  • During your workout:

    If you exercise for fewer than 60 minutes, drink ½ cup to 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Exercising for longer than 60 minutes requires additional fluids as a result of electrolyte loss. If your exercise exceeds 60 minutes, drink ½ cup to 1 cup of a sports drink containing electrolytes every 15 to 20 minutes. Do not drink more than 4 cups in an hour.

  • Post-workout:

    Drink 2 to 3 cups of water within two hours of completing your workout.

Too much of anything isn’t good for you. This is also the case for water. Be sure to drink enough water, but also avoid going overboard.

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