Running provides an effective and intense workout that increases your lower body strength, benefits your cardiovascular health and helps you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Proper nutrition and hydration before, during and after your runs proves important for successful workouts, and failure to properly nourish your body might lead to health problems.
Plain old water is so blah, however. But, most commercial sports drinks contain extra sugar and artificial coloring that you're not crazy about consuming either. Consider drinking lemon water during your runs as it offers a number of benefits.
To Your Health
Hydrating during your workout is important for your health. During exercise, your body can lose significant amounts of fluid through sweat -- up to 4 cups per hour, according to the University of New Mexico -- and failure to consume enough water during and after a run can lead to dehydration.
Drinking water, including lemon water, helps replenish your body's fluid stores during your run, helping to compensate for fluid loss due to sweating.
Slight Carb Boost
Drinking lemon water might offer some slight benefits over drinking plain water. Lemon juice contains several nutrients, and adding the juice from one lemon to your water adds 8 grams of natural sugars and carbohydrates.
During your workouts, your body can utilize these naturally-occurring carbohydrates for energy. The 8 grams isn't much, but it can augment other fuel -- such as gels or chews --that you use during you run. This might allow you to run faster or longer during your workouts.
In addition to losing water when you run, your body also excretes sodium and other electrolytes. Plain water can replace fluid lost through sweat, but might not contain the electrolytes your body needs during and after a run.
Lemon juice, on the other hand, contains several essential electrolytes, including potassium, an electrolyte essential for proper muscle function. While the efficacy of lemon juice for replacing electrolytes lost during a run has not been fully investigated, lemon water's potassium content might benefit your health during a run.
In addition to its possible benefits during a run, incorporating lemon water into your diet offers a boost to your overall health. If you find it difficult to drink enough water every day, or dislike the taste of plain water, adding lemon juice might help you increase your daily water intake.
Lemon water also represents a way to add flavor without lots of calories, like those found in juices or sodas. Experiment with different types of lemon water -- for example, lemon water with sliced strawberries or mint leaves -- to enjoy a range of healthy flavored waters.
Just be aware that lemon is a natural diuretic and can also cause serious damage to the enamel on your teeth over time.