Benefits of staying hydrated when exercising

26 August 2017 by
First published: 22 March 2015

Did you know sipping the good stuff can actually improve your performance? Read on to discover more great benefits of staying hydrated when exercising.

When you’re in the zone and working up a sweat it’s easy to forget to drink, which isn’t good! Having an active lifestyle is essential for your wellbeing but when you’re active it’s important that you keep yourself hydrated, whatever your activity.

Women are advised to drink 1.6 litres of water every day – that’s eight 200ml glasses of the good stuff. When we exercise we need even more! The most obvious way we lose water when exercising is through sweating but did you know just the act of getting active raises your heart rate, which increases the rate at which you breathe, which requires water too.

Different factors affect the amount of water you need. It’s not just the intensity of the exercise but also the temperature of your surroundings, how much you sweat, how long you exercise for and the altitude at which you’re exercising (higher altitudes increase breathing and loss of water).

Nutrition consultant Doctor Emma Derbyshire says: ‘It’s important to be well hydrated before starting physical activities, and once activities have begun, water should ideally be sipped at regular intervals, approximately every 20 minutes or so. This is especially important in hot weather or at high altitudes.’

As well as drinking during exercise it’s important to stay hydrated after exercising, too. Doctor Derbyshire recommends sipping at intervals rather than gulping large amounts at a time.

Here at WHL, we like to get our fill with our handy BRITA Fill&Go bottles!


But why is it so important?

Brain power

Depriving yourself of water decreases your mental function. Mentally you need to be on the ball when exercising, especially if you’re in a gym class trying to pick up the moves to a new routine! Drinking water helps keep you focused and your memory sharp.


Keeping well hydrated can actually improve your athletic performance. Dehydration causes tiredness, weakness and even headaches; by upping your H20 you can avoid these symptoms.

Body temperature

Your ability to regulate your body temperature when you’re dehydrated decreases, meaning your body temperature rises quicker, which in turn can lead to fatigue.

An easy way to check whether you’re dehydrated is to look at the colour of your urine. Checking out the colour of your wee may seem weird but Doctor Derbyshire says it provides a good indication of your hydration levels. ‘Your urine should be pale straw colour – anything darker and you need to drink more fluids,’ explains Doctor Derbyshire.

She also suggests another nifty way of precisely monitoring your H20 levels

Every one litre of water is equivalent to 1kg of weight. Weighing yourself before and after a workout is a good way of judging water requirements, as a loss of 0.5kg is equivalent to a loss of around 500ml of water.

Nutritionist Lowri Turner explains: ‘It’s not just the hydration that water provides that is important, it’s also the perfect solution for electrolytes that you need to replace if you’re exercising. Electrolytes are negatively and positively charged minerals that separate in water enabling it to conduct electricity. This is what allows us to carry electrical impulses round the body. With sport you need those impulses really firing. However, as you sweat you not only lose water, you lose electrolytes too.’

Some important electrolytes are magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium and chloride. You can rehydrate yourself and replenish a depleted electrolyte supply after a big workout session by trying one of these homemade energy drinks from Lowri. We love mixing them up and popping them in our BRITA Fill&Go Water Bottle so we’ve got it straight after a workout.


Banana blueberry electrolyte burst
1 cup BRITA filtered water
1 banana
1 celery stalk or 1/2 cup blueberries

Whizz in a blender and serve.

Orange with a twist
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup BRITA filtered water
Pinch of sea salt

Combine all the ingredients together and serve.

Coconut water
Just dilute 50/50 with BRITA filtered water.


We Heart Living is an ambassador for the #BetterWithBRITA campaign. For more healthy tips and recipes head to

Lowri Turner is the author of The Hunger Type Diet, Nourish books. For more info visit

For more great tips on how to stay hydrated visit