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10 Ways to increase your energy

Ten Ways to Increase Your Energy

Many of us remain deprived of normal sleep, which makes us feel lethargic during the day. Stress, lack of exercise and poor nutrition further cause us to experience low energy levels and live an unhealthy life. Seeking advice from a reliable personal trainer is the best option you have. However, following some simple yet effective tips can really help to improve your energy levels so that you feel more energised, active and happier throughout the day.

- Any  personal trainer would advise you to make a healthy breakfast part of your regimen. Skipping breakfast deprives you of the energy that you need to get started in the day.

- Incorporate more fish, cereals, and nuts into your diet. These foods are rich in magnesium which is an essential mineral for the metabolic reactions that release energy in our body.

- Have whole grains instead of processed grains or sugar. Whole grains are digested slowly releasing sustained amounts of energy compared to the sudden burst of energy from consuming sugar.

- Sometimes, low energy levels might indicate that the body needs water. Taking a glass of water at regular intervals throughout the day can help to prevent episodes of low energy.

- Walk as frequently as possible because it increases the heart rate and pumps more oxygen throughout your body. Your personal trainer may suggest aerobic exercises to increase the oxygen supply as well.

- Too many of us focus on power careers without realising how severe the stress is for our energy levels. Taking a daily one–hour power nap can go a long way in reducing some of the stress and increasing mental activity.

- Adopting relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety burn up a lot of energy which makes you feel exhausted without physical or mental activity.

- Having a protein and fibre based power snack between meals is a perfect way to replenish energy consumed during the day. For many, personal trainer may recommend power snacking.

- Add rich creamy milk to your coffee as calcium and proteins in the milk provide strength to the bones and make physical activity less strenuous.

- Chronic low energy levels might indicate anaemia or a thyroid problem. Moreover, getting diagnosed and treated can help to improve energy levels.

For more information, help or advice on increasing your energy levels and to develop your own regimen, get in touch with an expert personal trainer in London today.

 

 

Benefits of Prenatal Exercising

Top 5 Benefits of Prenatal Exercising

While exercising can seem impossible while you’re pregnant that’s far from the truth; it’s a definite possibility, especially if you take advantage of prenatal personal training. Doing prenatal exercises will not only help you stay in shape while you’re pregnant, it will also help you bounce back after having your baby; both fantastic benefits. Your personal trainer  will design a program that will keep you feeling strong even as you begin to feel the pressure of the additional baby weight, and will leave you feeling like an energetic, fit mom.

Following are 5 fantastic reasons to do prenatal exercise that include a multitude of health benefits that range from improved circulation to a positive self image.

- Energy Booster
Pregnancy can sap your energy, but the exercises  you’ll go through will improve your energy levels, making it easier to get through your day. Even a minimum amount of exercise will strengthen your cardiovascular system and while toning and strengthening your muscles, you’ll find that regular activities that can be more trying when you’re pregnant will require less effort.

- Lessens the Discomforts of Pregnancy
Your personal trainer will come up with a combination of exercises that will give you an overall body workout, including exercises that strengthen and stretch your muscles, helping your body deal better with the pains and aches of pregnancy. Stretching eases back pain, swimming strengthens abdominal muscles, and walking improves the body’s circulation.

- Prepares You for Childbirth
The better physical condition you are in, the stronger you’ll be you labour sets in, and as you deliver your precious bundle of joy. Giving birth requires a lot of energy, stamina and determination. It hasn’t been proven but some say that doing prenatal exercises can even shorten the delivery time; even though it’s not set in stone, it seems like it would be worth the gamble.

- Reduces Stress and Improves Your Mood
There’s no doubt that having a child is a momentous experience that, let’s face it, can create a jumble of emotions; one moment feeling overjoyed, the next stress out, irritable and overwhelmed. Research has shown that any kind of exercise including prenatal exercises boosts serotonin levels, a chemical in the brain that is linked to a person’s mood, almost instantly improving your outlook and “happy” levels.

- Get Back In Shape After Childbirth Faster
It would be difficult to come up with a better reason to hire a personal trainer than the very motivating idea of getting back into shape, and fast, after you give birth. When you’ve put in the effort to tone and strengthen your body during pregnancy, your body will have a much easier time bouncing back once you’ve had your child. Even better, you won’t gain extra weight because you’ll be burning off those food cravings you treat yourself to instead of packing on additional pounds.

You’ll not only learn how to properly execute each prenatal exercise, you also learn precautions, as well as changes to your body, including some of the following.

- It’s important to stretch sufficiently before exercising.
- Breathe consistently while you exercise, exhaling during exertion.
- Don’t do a lot of exercises that require bouncing and avoid arching your back.
- Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water.
- Don’t be surprised if you experience increased uterine activity, during and after exercising.
- Greatly reduce your activity levels as your pregnancy progressing.

There are a number of reasons why you should consider personal training. Never do prenatal exercises alone if you suffer from any physical issues including respiratory conditions. A personal trainer will not only work with your doctor’s recommendations, but teach you how to listen to your own body when you get tired. Basically, they can make your pregnancy easier to deal with and help you get your pre-baby weight off shortly after.

 

Reaching your fitness goal

Personal training and reaching your fitness goal

Aside from the fact that personal trainers are usually toned with muscled bodies, there are other reasons – besides an elevated heart rate – why getting a personal trainer is the best thing you can do for your body.

Many of us have the best intentions in the world. We start off with a fitness regime, whether it’s jogging, pilates, weights. We usually overdo it and end up with very painful muscles that incapacitate us for days. Then we are a bit afraid of starting all over again, so we decide that the couch looks much more comfortable than the exercise mat. Worst case scenario is that an inexperienced person can seriously injure themselves without professional supervision.

A personal trainer will be able to assist you while recovering from sports injuries like tendonitis, cartilage damage or sprains.  Personal trainers have the knowledge to explain in more detail how pain develops due to weak muscles not supporting other muscles engaged during training, making these overwork, causing a stress load on the wrong muscles.

The fact is that personal trainers are trained in how the body and the muscles work and what nutrition and supplements to incorporate in your diet. The most important thing about exercise is doing it right. It is not the quantity of movements you make that count, but the quality. They know what common mistakes people make when they start training, and how to rectify these. They usually know what the reasons behind a recurring injury might be and how to resolve it. If they don’t, they will know who to ask or where to send you for further professional advice.

Personal trainers have the added benefit of being personal. They focus on you and your fitness regime. They tell you to change your posture, move your foot out in front of you, or how much weight you should put on the dumbbells. They make exercising safe and fun. It’s rewarding to have someone only concentrating on you and your needs, and this encourages us to work harder and achieve more. When the results start showing, we can be proud of ourselves and there is someone else with us who congratulates us and is glad about the fact that hard work is now paying off.

Personal Training in London has years of experience working with all age groups and fitness levels.  You may simply wish to increase your heart rate and get the blood pumping, build muscles, or lose weight. Whatever your goal, Personal Trainer in London can help you reach it.  Having a personal trainer is part of caring for you and your body. It shows that you are taking exercising seriously. Whatever you wish to achieve, you will reach your goal much faster and safer with the help of a professional.

 

Digestive system can influence your training

HOW YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM CAN INFLUENCE YOUR TRAINING

If you’re not reaching your fitness target and suffer from extreme fatigue, you may want to consider how your digestion is related to the amount of energy generated for daily activities. When the digestion system works effectively, it breaks down food and converts it into energy, all your systems are supplied with adequate oxygen. An impaired digestive system results not only in a lack of energy, but in a range of other illnesses, preventing us to perform at our peak.

Digestive system phases.

When food enters the body, the digestive process starts with the saliva in your mouth. The mucus in saliva binds food to make it slippery and easy to pass down to the stomach. It also contains an enzyme called salivary amylase which initiates the digestion of starch and other carbohydrates. The stomach produces acid, responsible for the actual digestion of food and an enzyme called Pepsin which breaks down proteins mostly found in meat eggs and diary products.  Stomach acid also kills harmful bacteria which enters our digestive system. Once food has been digested in the stomach it moves down to the small intestine, where most of the chemical digestion takes place. The pancreas excretes digestive enzymes which enters the small intestine through the pancreatic duct.  Proteins, Lipids (fats) and some carbohydrates are degraded. The digested foods are now ready to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the wall of the small intestine. The final step of digestion is the large intestine which is responsible for eliminating waste products and absorbing water from the remaining indigestible food matter.

When things goes wrong.

If you are experiencing constant  diarrhea or constipation, the first step you want to take is set up an appointment with your doctor.  Your doctor will send a stool sample to a laboratory for tests.  The tests are to determine if you have any pathogenic bacteria in your digestive system. Amongst others, pathogenic bacterias are E-coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus. These bacterias are more commonly found than you would expect.  Staphylococcus aureus, responsible for some forms of constipation, can be contracted from contaminated surfaces and even from person to person.  E-coli and Salmonella can be contracted from touching infected animals or contaminated foods. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, it is important to follow the course of antibiotics with an extended course for replacing the internal flora or beneficial bacteria.  Not only does antibiotic eliminate pathogenic bacteria, but also good bacteria, essential for breaking down food particles to enable successful digestion.

Once the possibility of infection with a pathogenic bacteria is cleared, the following step is determine if you may have a food intolerance.  Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance is an example of a food intolerance which causes severe bouts of diarrhea once any food containing gluten is ingested.  Other food intolerances like lactose intolerances also cause diarrhea. Intolerance to corn, wheat and yeast in example may lead to constipation. Visit your doctor for an IGA antibody blood test.  You can also use a home test kit or determine which are the offending foods by starting a food diary. You may discover a food intolerance or pathogenic bacteria which was treated with antibiotics and still not have complete relief.

Now you can look at the possibility that your stomach may not be producing enough acid. If your stomach doesn’t produce enough acid, food will leave your stomach undigested, this creates an environment for unwanted bacteria to thrive. A condition for diarrhea is created as the intestines becomes acidic and irritated.  You can do a simple at home test by taking a teaspoon of bicarbonated soda in 200 millilitres of water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking. Time how long it takes you to belch. If after 5 minutes it still did not happen, you may be suffering from low stomach acid.  Visit your doctor for further advice and tests. Low stomach acid can easily be rectified by taking Betaine Hydrocloric Acid with Pepsin.

Fibre.

A diet rich in fibre is healthy.  However, a diet with too much fibre is a certain cause for impaired digestion.  Too much fibre cause the food to move too slow through through the intestines, as a result most of the water in the food is absorbed causing dry, hard particles which are difficult to move along.  When your diet contains too much fibre it could bind to nutrients and eliminate these minerals and vitamins without the body being able to absorb them.

Personal training in London can help you choose a diet plan for healthy eating and advise on foods which are to be included and excluded during training.

With a healthy digestive system your body is able to produce the energy to train and stay fit.

 

Being fit

What does “Being Fit” mean? The term fitness is not easily defined and has a unique meaning to each individual. Several attempts at establishing a simple concept to define it has failed. The problem with defining fitness is that it is not a simple concept.

Earlier dated attempts at describing fitness were based on the notion that “being fit” means that someone can complete his or her daily routine and still have the energy to enjoy recreational activities. While this may sound equitable, such a description leaves no room to account for differences in “daily routines.” One person’s daily routine is composed primarily of desk work, with very little physical activity, whereas another person’s daily work is spent engaging in strenuous physical activity such as construction work. The construction worker will certainly have no enthusiasm after a day’s work to rush to the gym to work out than someone working in an office. But does this mean he or she is less fit?

From a practical standpoint, fitness is basically the extent to which the body can function efficiently. “Being fit” means having a healthy body in harmony, allowing you to enjoy life to its fullest. Health-related fitness is best understood by looking at it’s specific elements it compose of: aerobic (or cardio-respiratory) fitness, muscular fitness, and body composition. Fitness experts consider aerobic or respiratory fitness as the most important exercise related health fitness element, due to the fact that it controls one of the U.K’s major causes of death, heart failure.  Each year,  heart and circulatory diseases cause more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK, accounting for more than 159,000 deaths each year. The estimated cost of the NHS related to heart diseases is approximately £19 billion each year, this includes amongst others, the cost of premature death, lost productivity, hospital treatment and prescriptions.

What makes this fact even more startling is realising that many of these cardiovascular deaths could be easily prevented if people would make simple, positive lifestyle changes and integrate it in their daily routine.  Amongst those behaviours most for encouraging cardiovascular disease are smoking, obesity, poor nutrition and lack of regular exercise. While the precise role of exercise related fitness in the prevention of cardiovascular disease remains a topic of constant debate, evidence continues to mount that regular aerobic exercise produces positive changes in one’s level of overall fitness that in turn enhance a person’s chances of reducing the severity of cardiovascular disease, and even preventing it’s onset altogether. Aerobic exercise produces positive physiological effects on the heart, blood, vascular system, and lungs. The body requires energy to carry out all functioning. There is a complex range of functions the body requires energy for, the respiratory system, responsible for intake of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide from body. The nervous system, controls body activities and the reaction to stimuli. The digestive system breaks down food, which follows absorption for use as energy.  The excretory system (kidneys, bladder, skin) controls water and salt balance.  Endocrine is responsible for production of hormones and body regulation.  The skeletal and muscular system controls protection and movement.  Circulatory (blood) transports nutrients, metabolic wastes, water, salts, and disease fighting cells.  Integumentary (skin) regulates protection of body from injury and bacteria, maintenance of tissue moisture, holding receptors for stimuli response and body heat regulation.

Energy is required for the muscles to contract, whether to pick up the morning paper or lift the feet one step after the other while walking or jogging. The body has three ways in which energy is produced, the most efficient is known as aerobic energy production, or the utilisation of oxygen to produce energy. The body “prefers” to produce its required energy aerobically because the energy output from the aerobic system is much more generous than that from the two anaerobic systems, and the by-products of aerobic energy production are water and carbon dioxide, which are both easily metabolised by the body, whereas the major by-product of the main (with relation to exercise) anaerobic energy system is lactic acid, a fatigue-causing substance.

Join Personal Training in London for expert guidance on how to increase energy and incorporate a healthy fitness routine in your life, combat cardio vascular disease and enjoy your daily tasks and recreational activities with ease and comfort.

Correct body posture

Your posture can make our break a fitness goal.

Next time when you are in London or another city, observe the people around you.  Notice the range of body postures from up straight and confident, to a poor, slouching posture. Consider how your perception of people differ when watching them move and specifically by the way they carry themselves. People with an upright posture are considered to be reliable, more likely to be trusted with a task and most importantly, successful. How does this apply to your workout and success in reaching a fitness goal? Research has discovered that your posture influences the way you perceive yourself.

Professor Richard Petty from Ohio State University has conducted a Psychological study in understanding how body posture effects your own thoughts. 71 students at Ohio State university participated in a study.  They were either asked to sit in a slouched position or up straight.  Then they had to rate themselves as future professionals.  The results were striking, students with an upright posture rated themselves much higher than those sitting in a slouched position.

When you set a fitness goal, simultaneously, keep a confident pose.  It will reflect in your ability to believe in yourself and follow through with an exercise plan. You are much more likely to succeed. This also applies to children. During the development years, it is imperative that they develop a good posture, to carry their confidence throughout their lives.  Working with a personal trainer will help them develop good habits from an early age. You will notice a change in behaviour and interest in developing new skills and participating in sport. Not only is posture important for confidence, it will also help to prevent sports injury, neck and back pain.  Loading muscles in an incorrect way only cause strain. Your personal trainer will be able to provide guidance on body position during various exercises.

What is considered a correct posture while training? A neutral position, inflicting minimal strain and tension on the muscles, joints, bones, and ligaments.  Your internal organs should not be compressed, your blood vessels and nerves should be in a unrestricted state.  Your body should be in a state of conformity and efficiency, with no constriction of movement. The  key focal point in ensuring freedom of movement is the head-neck-back relationship. For every inch the head moves forward out of the correct position, it increases the weight of the head on the neck by 10 pounds.  Your neck curvature should be correctly aligned with your spine. The wall test can provide a guideline to the correct neck posture. Stand with the back of your head against the wall, your feet six inches away from the wall and your trunk against the wall. Placing your hand behind your neck, measure the distance between your neck and the wall. If the space is about two inches, you are standing with correct posture. If not, your position requires adjustment.

Another important factor is your sleep position.  Support your neck with a firm pillow and invest in a good quality spring mattress.

Change your posture, to change your life, not only will it provide confidence to follow through to reaching the body you desire, it keep you pain free and comfortable during your work out for long-term endurance.

6 pack in 30 days

 

6 pack in 30 days

30 days seems like a short period of time for reaching your goal to visibly sculpt your AB muscles.  With a hectic schedule and plenty of tasks requiring your attention, it seems impossible to set enough time aside. 30 days is in fact all that is required, with Personal Training in London and smart planning, you can dedicate just enough time to get results.

Stepping up the intensity of your workout will be a key component to reaching your target in 30 days. Not only will this training program get the ABS you want, but you will also be working on your whole body for an appearance which completes your new look.

The exercises will be known to you, however pay close attention to the way they are performed. Performing them correctly will target the correct muscles and reduce strain.

Diet will be an important part of your routine.  Avoid difficult to digest foods, which results in slowing down metabolism.  Energise your body with vitamin and mineral rich foods, include plenty of raw fruit and vegetables.  Eat lean protein and snack on seeds and nuts.  Resist the temptation of reaching for and energy drink to provide a quick energy fix and avoid excessive caffeine intake which will only result in dizziness, heart palpitation and energy collapse.

Personal Trainer in London create 6 days training plan, followed by a complete day of rest.  Use your day off to relax and regenerate, resting both body and mind.

Remember to start your workout with a brief warm up session and follow with a cool down.

Cardio is recommended for the mornings and lifts during evenings and afternoons. For optimum results do a 30 minutes intense cardio before breakfast. Research has shown that exercise before breakfast can result in as much as 20% more fat burn, bringing you at a much speedier rate to weight loss.

Your cardio workout should consists of 30 minutes of steady-state cardio. Steady-state cardio is essential for increasing your edurance.  Good examples of steady state cardio is a steady jaunt on the treadmill, stair climber, bike or elliptical.

If the weather allows you can also enjoy the fresh air and go jogging, biking or power walking.

An important factor is to exercise within your target heart rate zone, also known as your training zone. This ranges between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate. When working within this zone you are given the maximum health and fat-burning benefits from your cardiovascular activity.

You can readjust your schedule, should lifting not be possible in the afternoons. Simply move it on to the following morning and divide your time with several hours distance for your cardio session to be performed at a later hour.  The recommended time frame between cardio and lifting is a minimum of 6 hours.

Replenish your body with plenty of fluids during your workout to ensure you keep hydrated, especially while exercising in hot weather. Excessive sweating during exercise may cause dropping in blood volume, which leads to muscle cramps, dizziness or fatigue.

Once you have reached your target, maintain your fitness level with regular exercise and make healthy eating habits apart of your lifestyle.

Importance of Cool Down

Done Your Workout?  Chill Out and Cool Down

 

Your muscles have been working hard.  They are building up lactic acid, just waiting to be released to give you the infamous post-exercise cramps.

After your exercise, you might be tempted to skip the most important part: the post-workout cool down.  You can’t run your body at 60mph and then stop abruptly; you need to give your body a chance to recover first. A cool down slowly brings breathing, heart rate and core body temperatures back down to the normal range.  It will also release any blood that pools in your lower extremities following an intense workout; some people will actually faint or become light headed and nauseas following exercise because of this syndrome if they do not restore the blood flow properly, slowly and naturally. A proper cool down will reduce the adrenaline produced by the workout, and help you relax.

A cool down is directly beneficial to your muscles in many ways.  DOMS, or delayed onset of muscle soreness, is a common syndrome that can affect you even 24 hours after your workout.  The cool down disperses the buildup of waste products stored in the muscle, such as lactic acid.  These by-products cause the uncomfortable burning feeling in your muscles.  A cool down is the best way to avoid muscle pain, aches and fatigue.  It decreases the time between exercise routines since the muscles are properly given a chance to recover.

A cool down is a great way to find any hidden injuries that may have occurred during your workout.  Low back pain, joint pain or extreme muscle pain will become apparent at this stage and can be addressed properly.

Don’t stop moving!  A cool down will begin with running in place or any other mid-active exercise after which will come some stretches or even yoga. Be sure to stretch every muscle used during the exercise routine, holding the stretches for a minimum of 30 seconds. Some good stretching exercises would be the lat stretch, the triceps stretch, the hamstring stretch and the triceps stretch.  The idea behind stretching is to relax and improve your flexibility while your muscles are still warm.  Ultimately, this will decrease your chances for injury in the future.

Personal Training in London recommends to cool down for at least 10 minutes after your exercise routine for the maximum benefit to your body, or until you are no longer sweating from the strain of the workout.  After the cool down comes a rest period of about five minutes or so; it is suggested to eat a light snack between 30 minutes to an hour after you are done exercising, making sure to rehydrate properly with water or a sports drink.  The snack should include both carbs and protein to give the body fuel.

The benefits of a cool down after exercise make it one of the most important parts of your workout.  Improving flexibility, bringing heart and respiratory rates back in line naturally, slowly dispersing muscle by products and relaxing your mind, the cool down should be included in any exercise regimen.

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Postnatal Exercising

Postnatal Exercising

A new baby brings so many changes; three o’clock feedings, diaper changes, doctor’s appointments, and the flurry of visitors make it very hard for new moms to make any time for themselves.  If you ask any mother what her biggest desires would be, they would be sleep, peace, and their pre-pregnancy weight. The baby isn’t only responsible for your weight gain, though; she is also responsible for pelvic floor and wall weakness, abdominal weakness, and various aches and pains in the back, neck and arms.  She also has wreaked hormonal havoc on you for the last nine months, leaving you feeling stressed and depressed.

Postnatal exercise can help each of these factors.  It is an important step in getting your confidence back, losing the weight, and improving your balance and posture.  Postnatal exercise will also release endorphins that will help with your postnatal depression as well as help you sleep better for the few precious hours you can get each night.

Breastfeeding will use approximately 250 calories per day, but it is important for the sake of your baby and yourself that you replace these calories with a healthy diet.  Now is not the time to count calories.  It becomes even more important to balance healthy eating and breastfeeding when the time comes to add a fitness routine to your postnatal weight loss plan.

Before starting any exercise program, it is important to get clearance from your doctor.  Most doctors will tell you to wait at least six weeks following the birth of your baby, and then begin a slow and gentle exercise program.  Cesarean section births will require an even longer wait before clearance due to the extensive healing process.

The important thing with postnatal exercise is to remember that everything counts.  Walking the baby in the stroller is a great idea, securing him in a “baby back pack” and heading for the stairs is another one. Emphasis will be placed on exercises that rebuild the abdominal muscles and strengthen the pelvic floor.

The biggest question asked by new moms is when they should be exercising.  In the first few weeks, the old adage “when the baby sleeps, you sleep” is a good one.  As you return to your normal routine of work outside the house, caring for the kids and the house, or whatever your pre-baby “norm” was, your exercise program will be pushed even further from your mind.  You must make the time for your own peace of mind.

Join Personal Training in London a program like “mommy and me” that encourages moms and their tykes to exercise together.Do your exercises when you are doing other things.  Dance with the vacuum, practice your pelvic strengthening exercises, known as kegals, while folding laundry; take the baby for a brisk walk in her stroller.Talk to other new moms in your area to organize exercise dates.

Don’t forget about taking care of yourself when taking care of baby.  Get involved in a good postnatal exercise program with Personal Training in London to decrease postnatal depression, rebuild strength, lose weight, and generally feel good about yourself again.

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Importance of Hydration

Drink For Success and a Healthy Workout by Personal Training in London

 

Every athlete knows proper hydration is the most essential part of the game.  What they may not know is the importance of hydration in rejuvenating muscles, balancing the electrolytes lost during perspiration and increasing stamina and performance.  Dehydration is not just a hot weather occurrence; it can happen for the winter athlete, the casual jogger and even the weight-lifter in an air-conditioned room.  Let’s take a look at exactly why hydration is so important to you.

Homeostasis is a big word flung around by medical professionals that simply means one thing: balance.  Anything that upsets the homeostasis in the body will rapidly result in illness.  While this balance or balance can be upset by any number of things, we are going to focus on the importance of hydration in maintaining homeostasis.

Athletes, body builders and even casual workout gurus run the very real risk of dehydration.  Dehydration can, in turn, result in things like heat exhaustion or heat stroke in the short term, and kidney disease or stones in the long term.  It can seriously damage your performance by dropping blood levels in the body, resulting in dizziness, fatigue and even collapse.  Perspiration is the body’s natural defense against overheating, but it can drain the body of valuable fluids.  We have all had the muscle cramps that come with heat exhaustion; the body starts to take its hydration from wherever it can, even your muscles, resulting in the familiar cramps that hamper performance and stamina.  At this point, you are still perspiring and can stop the process by sitting down and hydrating.  If you pass this point, you become extremely ill as heat stroke takes its toll; this is characterized by hot, dry skin, nausea, confusion, and if left untreated, seizures.   Heat stroke is a genuine medical emergency that requires intervention, fast.  Heat stroke is an extreme result of dehydration that happens when the body is lacking the fluids it needs to cool itself, sort of like running a car that is overheating because of radiator issues.  Homeostasis has been unbalanced to a dangerous level in heat stroke.

Drinking too little will result in your kidneys shutting down, producing less urine.  For the short term, you can reverse this process by hydrating but if you choose to ignore the signs of distressed kidneys, such as decreased urine output and dark urine, you run the risk of damaging them.  Kidneys will cry for help by the dark urine and decreased output, and as the damage progresses, low back pain.  If you do this over a long enough period of time, the damage becomes permanent.

So now we understand the importance of hydration in maintaining homeostasis.  For the average person, drinking a few glasses of water throughout the day is enough.  For the athlete, however, hydration levels need to be monitored constantly.  Drinking during your workout session is not enough; you need to take in fluids before, during and after your workout. Before you work out, jump on the scale and record your weight for the purpose of monitoring fluid loss.   It is then suggested that prior to the workout, up to 20fl ounces need to be taken in over two hours, and an additional 8fl ounces within 15 minutes of the workout.  During the session, up to 10fl ounces every 15 minutes is needed to maintain healthy hydration.  After you are through, weigh yourself again and continue to hydrate with up to 24fl ounces for every pound of water weight lost.

The age old question comes into play in any discussion regarding hydration: water, or sports drinks?  Sports drinks will encourage you to drink more because of a better taste; however they don’t tend to quench thirst the way water will, also because of the taste.  Ever notice that you grab for two sports drinks to do the same work as only one bottle of water?  The sweet and sour tastes of those sports drinks are designed to keep you coming back long after your body has received its required amount of hydration. They do return electrolytes and sodium to your body, but in a normal workout this may not be necessary.  If you are working out or competing for an extended time or in a very hot environment, sports drinks will help you maintain homeostasis but for most sessions, plain water will do the same.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of the importance of hydration for your workouts, grab a bottle of water and drink your way to success and fitness.

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