Whenever you complete a round of exercise, you will sweat regardless of your age or fitness level. In fact, it is important that you sweat as it regulates your body temperature, but on the other hand, electrolytes and fluids that facilitate important body functions are being lost. After losing a great amount, you might feel weary, dizzy, and aches in certain parts of the body, which is due to dehydration.
What problems do women face with hydration?
However, the parameters of hydration tend to be different for women. The physiology of females varies as per the changes of estrogen and progesterone levels on a monthly basis. These up-and-down patterns affect the ability of hydrating. Thorough research has also shown another interesting fact – women hydrate with fluids as per standard recommendations, but they might not be able to go up to their peak performance. This is because quite a few of those figures are based on tests conducted on college-going boys.
Women are more prone to have GI issues while exercising (almost five times more than men), be it gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke produces more adverse effects in women. It usually depends on the blood volume, and in order to keep the performance level at an all time high, the volume has to be kept to the upper limits. With high estrogen and progesterone levels just before the pre-menstrual phase, 8% of the plasma volume (watery portion of blood) is lost. Progesterone also raises the core body temperature by about 0.9°F, which impacts the capability of continuing a workout session for a long time. She tends to tire out way faster than normal because of decreased heat tolerance.
Consuming birth control pills or using other methods increase the estrogen and progesterone levels by at least six to eight times. Sodium helps to channel water into the blood stream, but when the progesterone content is high, it becomes tougher as this particular hormone battles for the same receptors as used by aldosterone, which in turn flushes out sodium from the body. The rate of sodium loss shoots up tremendously.
When you are exercising in a high temperature environment, you tend to sweat more than usual, which can lead to painful muscle spasms and contractions known as heat cramps. Rapid fluid loss from the body should be prevented so that your overall performance isn’t hampered in any way.
How to hydrate?
There is no need to worry because you can easily tackle these fluctuations if you hydrate in the correct way and maintain a balanced diet. Women require more sodium and potassium as compared to men. Potassium combined with sodium and different sugars in the body can help to get more water into the bloodstream. Ideally, you should stick to glucose and sucrose as they are simpler to digest. Fructose might cause bloating because the female body faces difficulties when it is metabolized.
Hydrating before exercising is a must. If you are into rigorous workout with high-intensity training, then you need to keep drinking water from a few hours before to retain sufficient quantity of sodium in the body. Sip small amounts during rest periods so there is no chance of dehydration. It is advisable to drink according to body weight – consult your fitness trainer for more details.
The ideal drink for hydration is a combination of sodium, water, and sucrose & glucose – the water levels in your blood are maintained consistently. Try to drink fluids that have less carbs and more sodium, without paying too much attention to the recommended dosage. This will boost your endurance, and power output, and help to prevent decline in performance during the pre-menstrual stage. Intense workouts will be a cinch if you can keep yourself hydrated properly.
What about sports drinks and electrolyte capsules?
During extreme physical activity, it is necessary to maintain your fluid intake in such a way that the carbohydrate content helps to accelerate fluid absorption and give energy at the same time. Sports drinks have been developed to meet these standards with the right amount of carbohydrate, sodium and water for sports participation. There are pills and tablets for this purpose as well. For example, Elite Rapid Rehydration, is one of the highest quality products in the market, which is available in the form of electrolyte capsules and has been specifically developed in the USA for professional athletes and people who are exercise enthusiasts. They prevent muscle cramps and improve times in endurance events. Irrespective of the temperature you are working in – you can work out under the sun for an entire day – your performance isn’t affected one bit, in fact it only gets better. You will notice you have better stamina and faster recovery periods. Moreover, the chances of injuries are also reduced.
To give anything your best, you have to hydrate with the right stuff at the correct time – if you can maintain consistency, the difficulties are greatly lessened.