Do you know how much water you typically lose in a heated yoga class? People have varying sweat rates: men typically sweat more than women and bigger bodies (with greater surface area and therefore more sweat glands) also sweat more. The best way to determine how much fluid you lose is to weigh yourself before and after class. You can also monitor your hydration by checking the color of your urine – it should be pale yellow (unless you take B-vitamins – the B-6 can turn urine bright yellow). For another convenient way to keep track of your water intake, check out the I ntak Beverage Bottle from Thermos. It has a built-in meter to measure water consumption.
If you eat a predominantly whole foods diet, you may need to add a little salt to your food as you do need some sodium in your diet (minimum of 500mg/day - but obviously more if you sweat a lot). Most people injest too much salt - as it is a key ingredient in processed, packaged food, but if you avoid them, then keep some natural sea salt on hand. While we don’t need very much of it, sodium is important for a variety of critical functions in the body, including maintaining proper fluid balance by enhancing fluid absorption/retention. This is another reason why you don’t want to drink too much water without having some salt in your diet. or you put yourself at risk for hyponatremia. Recent research also suggests sodium may have a role in mood regulation - which researchers postulate may be the reason many people crave it.
Do start your workout already hydrated and be sure to hydrate throughout and afterwards. An electrolyte replacement drink may be necessary only if you’re exercising vigorously for more than an hour or you sweat profusely or you take heated yoga classes regularly or the weather is very warm and humid. Otherwise sports drinks provide empty liquid calories you may not need and you’re better off eating a whole foods diet with lots of fruits and vegetables to replace electrolytes lost in sweat. If you do choose an electrolyte -replacement beverage, I recommend Recharge - a natural alternative to Gatorade.
In a future blog I’ll discuss what to eat before and after heated yoga classes.