Yes, You Need to Drink Water During Your Workout

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“Are you drinking enough water?”

It’s the question that gets asked by doctors, trainers, and even fitness apps. But should you really worry about drinking water that much? The short answer is yes: you should be drinking water every day, no matter how much, or how little, physical activity you’re doing. Staying properly hydrated is hard on an easy day, let alone on days where you’re putting in hard work in the saddle or at the gym. But if you want to keep being able to go for that ride, do an hour of yoga, or ride, you need to be drinking water — before, after, and during your workout.

Staying hydrated, as simple as it sounds, is the key to not becoming dehydrated, which is a pretty big deal. When more dehydrated you are, the less coordinated you are, the easier it is for your muscles to fatigue, and the harder it becomes for your body to regulate its temperature. Being dehydrated while riding is especially dangerous since you’re not only working on controlling your own body, but you also need to be able to stay coordinated, balanced, and focused to control your horse.

So what’s the key to staying hydrated? The American College of Sports Medicine, you should start hydrating at least a couple hours before your workout and stopping 20 – 30 minutes before you start. The good news is, according to the Mayo Clinic, your morning coffee doesn’t dehydrate you like previously thought, so you can count those ounces towards your daily total. During your workout, if you can, try and take a quick water break every 10 – 20 minutes. After, make sure you start hydrating with at least 8 ounces within thirty minutes of finishing. Of course, how much water you need depends on how long and how hard you’re working out. If you’re in the arena, at the gym, or doing any other strenuous physical activity for more than an hour, you need to up your hydration intake and swap out your plain water for a sports drink that has electrolytes in it.

So don’t be shy about having a bottle of water or sports drink handy on the days you plan on working hard in the arena. Bring water with you on long runs. Do what you can to keep your workouts safe and your body healthy that way you can keep going, keep pushing yourself harder, and you can keep becoming that better, stronger rider.

Nicole is a writer for Heels Down Media. If she's not writing or editing, she's either running, doing yoga, or at the barn working on becoming a better, stronger dressage rider.

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