When it comes to the scale and weighing yourself, there are many opinions on whether or not it is actually necessary. Some people live or die by the number; some people ignore it. Of course, we know that your weight doesn’t define your health; even if you are considered overweight by medical standards, you can still be perfectly healthy. Whatever your final decision on the merits of the scale, if you are a runner, you may not want to throw away the device for good for another reason that may surprise you
The Importance of Proper Hydration
As the summer months are already underway throughout the country, dehydration is the big topic, especially in the fitness world. Though some runners choose to take the summer months off, those with a fall marathon on the schedule are already underway with speed work and long runs, despite the intense heat.
Taking into consideration that 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, it is even more important to make sure you are taking in enough fluids when working out. Don’t expect to just be able to chug water after your run and replace all of the fluids you lost; unfortunately proper hydration doesn’t work like that.
Of course, hydration isn’t just a topic for the summer months. It is important to remember that you can become dehydrated even if it is cold outside. However, you will need to be prepared to take in more water during intense physical activity and in hotter climates.
The Benefit Of Weighing Yourself
Here is where your scale comes into play: If you weigh yourself before and after exercise, you can estimate how much fluid you lost on a run so you can properly rehydrate your body.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), it is best to do this weigh in first thing in the morning after urinating, without any clothes on. The second measurement should be taken after exercise. From there, you can estimate how much fluid was lost as you sweat.
Based on the percentage of your body weight change, you can then know just how dehydrated you may be. The ACSM provides the following guidelines:
Percent Body Weight Change
- Well Hydrated | -1 to +1%
- Minimal Dehydration | -1 to -3%
- Significant Dehydration | -3 to -5%
- Serious Dehydration | > -5%
Getting Enough Fluids
You of course want to drink water before, during and after a workout and, at times, may want to add in a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes. The ACSM advises that if your workout is under an hour, you can fuel simply with water (3-8 fluid ounces of water every 15- 20 minutes) but if your workout is greater than an hour, a sports drink should be used (3-8 fluid ounces of a sports beverage every 15-20 minutes).
After a workout, use your weigh-in to determine how much water or sports drink you should refuel with. Here, the ACSM advises you “drink 20-24 fluid ounces of water or sports beverage for every one pound lost.”
If you choose to not weigh yourself on a daily basis because of your relationship with the scale, that is perfectly fine. However, here is one instance where knowing the number can directly affect your overall wellbeing. Maybe keep it stored away for days you work out, simply to make sure you are well hydrated and taking proper measures to stay healthy.