How does exercise affect the balance of salt and water in your body?
When it comes to exercise, the only way to accurately tell what is going on with your hydration is to get on the scale. Water is heavy. A gallon of water weighs 8.35 pounds, a liter of water weighs 2.2 pounds or one kilogram.
Use the scale to assess water loss
So if you weigh yourself at the start and end of a work-out session and discover that you lost four pounds of body weight, you can be sure that it was all water.
Water and health matter greatly to athletic performance. 1-2% decrease in body weight through water loss, will decrease an athlete’s performance by 15-20%. So if you want to enhance your performance on the field, don’t take steroids, drink water; it is a legal, performance enhancing, sports drink.
From the American College of Sports Medicine, we learn that in an exercise of less than an hour at moderate intensity, all you need is just water.
Sports drinks are for sports, only to be used during sports or strenuous extended activity. They are not intended to be a lunch time drink. Their main function is to replace lost electrolytes, particularly sodium that is lost through sweat.
For some reason, it has become common to try and replace potassium after strenuous activity but potassium losses due to exercise are minimal. It is the sodium loss that causes the cramping of muscles after physical exertion.