Add flavor without calories by drinking lemon water during a workout. Staying hydrated only does good things for your body, including balancing your body temperature, lubricating joints and protecting your spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Boost your vitamin C while keeping hydrated by drinking water with lemon during your workout. Keep a pitcher of water filled with lemon slices in your refrigerator and use it to replenish your water bottle before and after your workouts. Zest the lemon rinds to use in salads or yogurt.
Liven Up Water With Lemon
Daily fluid needs vary depending on your age, sex and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, notes the CDC. Those who live in warmer climates or who exercise frequently will require more hydration.
While drinking plain water is the simplest way to stay hydrated, some may find the taste — or lack thereof — boring or unpleasant. Adding the juice from a whole lemon adds a refreshing, citrusy flavor, which can help you consume more water and stay hydrated during and after a workout, run or sports activity.
Lemons are a good source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as plant-based compounds called flavonoids, which are beneficial to your metabolic health. Other citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruits and pomelos, can also be used to flavor water naturally.
Read more: Benefits of Lemon Water
Lemon Water Benefits
A report in the April 2017 issue of the [Journal of Applied Physiology ](https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00745.2016)states that prolonged exercise and sweating affect electrolyte levels in your cellular system. This can cause a drop in your sodium levels and could lead to hypohydration, or a body water deficit.
Replenishing fluids is important to avoid dehydration, which can cause muscle cramps, dizziness and exhaustion. At more severe levels, dehydration can lead to heatstroke, seizures, kidney stones and low blood volume shock, according to the Mayo Clinic
"Adding the juice of a whole lemon to your water during a workout can help boost essential electrolytes, notably potassium, which is key to proper muscle function," noted sports trainer and psychologist Dr. Robyn Odegaard, author of "How to Feed a Human," tells LIVESTRONG.com. Lemons have also shown some benefit in helping to repair the normal DNA damage that occurs in the body every day.
Lemon Water Versus Sports Drinks
There are benefits to drinking sports beverages, such as Gatorade, which was created for high-performance athletes. While sports drinks are designed to replenish essential electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, during and after a hard workout or sport, they often contain more sugar and calories, on average 99 calories in a 12-ounce serving. One lemon has only 22 calories, making this citrus pleaser a low-calorie option for squeezing more hydration into your daily workout
Read more: Gatorade vs. Soda
Drinking lemon water during a workout is one of many alternatives to consuming sports drinks. It's also an inexpensive way to flavor your water rather than spending money on sport drinks and other beverages, such as energy drinks or packaged juices, which can also be high in sugar and calories. Drinking water with lemon is an affordable and natural way to stay hydrated for your health.
Can You Overdo It?
There are no downsides to drinking lemon water as it relates to working out. Individuals who have acid reflux may find drinking lemon water can trigger symptoms such as heartburn. Drinking large amounts of lemon water or any acidic beverage can also erode your tooth enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to decay, according to the American Dental Association. After drinking lemon water, rinse your mouth with plain water and refrain from brushing your teeth for 30 to 60 minutes.
Read more: Can Eating Too Many Lemons Be Harmful?
Lemon water is also a natural diuretic, which supports your kidney and bladder health and helps eliminate body waste through urination, according to the National Kidney Foundation. However, overhydration by drinking too much water can dilute the sodium content in your blood and result in a serious electrolyte imbalance, a condition called hyponatremia. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, drowsiness, confusion and seizures. If these occur, seek immediate medical attention.
Refreshing Alternatives to Lemon
If drinking water with lemon becomes humdrum or is too acidic for you, there are other refreshing options. Add slices of fresh oranges, strawberries, cucumber or ginger to water — with or without lemon — or sprigs of fresh mint or basil.
Noncaffeinated herbal teas, such as chamomile, peppermint or ginger, are hydrating and refreshing as well when served iced with a squeeze of lemon. You can also drink coconut water, which has benefits that are similar to those of lemon water and is a good source of potassium, sodium and manganese, which are important for helping your body recover from a workout.
Read more: 12 Ways to Make Water Taste (Much) Better
Another hydrating option to drinking water with lemon is to slice up juicy fruits, such as watermelon, peaches, honeydew and cantaloupe, and keep them refrigerated in a covered bowl or portable bag ready to eat or use to make smoothies or fresh juices. Lettuce, cucumber, celery and tomatoes are all 90 percent water, according to the USDA, and can be consumed raw, cooked or juiced. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to these fresh vegetables is also a nice way to add a zest of flavor.
- Mayo Clinic: "Dehydration Symptoms and Causes"
- Nutrition Facts: "How to Boost DNA Repair With Produce"
- Journal of Applied Physiology: "Optimizing the Restoration and Maintenance of Fluid Balance After Exercise-Induced Dehydration"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Water and Nutrition"
- My Food Data: "Nutitrion Facts for Lemons"
- MedlinePlus: "Fluid and Electrolyte Balance"
- USDA National Nutrition Database: "Basic Report: 09152, Lemon Juice, Raw"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Rethink Your Drink"
- USDA: "17 Vegetables Highest in Water"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hypoatremia"
- National Kidney Foundation: "How Your Kidneys Work"
- American Dental Association: "Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth"
- Dr. Robyn Odegaard: "On Your Mark – Get Set – Succeed!"
- Gatorade: "Heritage"