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Why Drink Water After Exercising?

author image Shannon George
Shannon George, former editor-in-chief of the trade magazine "Prime," holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University. Her health interests include vegetarian nutrition, weight training, yoga and training for foot races.
Why Drink Water After Exercising?
A woman drinks a bottle of water after a work out at the gym. Photo Credit: boggy22/iStock/Getty Images

Water is the most important nutrient for active people. Drinking plenty of water after exercising is essential for replacing the fluids you lose from sweating through your workout. Maintaining good hydration also supports healthy weight loss. It is important, however, not to drink excessive amounts of water after exercising, as this can lead to a dangerous health condition called hypotremia.

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Drinking water after you exercise helps you to replace the fluids lost during physical activity to ensure you stay properly hydrated. When you work up a sweat during exercise, your body loses large amounts water which can lead to dehydration if you don't replace them by drinking water and other fluids. Sweat losses during exercise can exceed several liters over the course of an hour. A good measure of whether you have adequately rehydrated your body after exercise is the color of your urine -- if you are well-hydrated, your urine will be clear. When rehydrating after exercise, drinking cool water is the best choice, as this will also help restore your temperature to a normal level.

Water and Weight Loss

Besides replacing essential fluids, drinking water after exercise also serves important functions in weight loss. Drinking water helps fill you up, allowing you to feel full while eating fewer calories. It is difficult for the body to differentiate between hunger and thirst, so being thirsty can cause you to eat too much. Additionally, being just 1 percent dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism, which may interfere with weight loss. Therefore, drinking water is a good complement to exercise if you are trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight.


While drinking water after exercise can help replace fluids lost through sweat, it is also important to drink water before and during exercise to ensure proper hydration, especially if you're working out on a hot day or for a lengthy period of time. Drinking fluids other than water, such as milk or juice, can also help rehydrate your body after exercise; however, caffeinated beverages are not a good choice for hydration purposes as caffeine actually promotes fluid loss. Sports drinks that don't contain caffeine are a smart hydration choice for workouts lasting longer than 90 minutes. In addition to replacing fluids, sports drinks also restore essential electrolytes lost during exhaustive workouts.


Drink some water during and after exercise. However, drinking massive amounts of water after exercise can cause a dangerous condition called hyponatremia, which can result in seizures, coma and even death. This condition is rare among healthy people although it sometimes occurs in athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink multiple gallons of water during or after exercising. During and after endurance training or events, such as a marathon, athletes should watch out for feelings of confusion, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and swollen hands and feet, as these may indicate a problem that needs immediate medical attention.

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