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Is It Better to Drink Cold Water When Running?

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Updated May 19, 2014

Is It Better to Drink Cold Water When Running?

Question: Is It Better to Drink Cold Water When Running?

"I've heard that you can get cramps from drinking cold water before running. Is it better to drink cold or lukewarm water when running?"

Answer: The idea that you'll get cramps from cold water is a myth. Cold water is actually absorbed in the body quicker than warm water. Drinking water, whether it's warm or cold, before or during running should not give you cramps. The best ways to prevent side stitches while running is to make sure you warm-up properly and to breathe deeply through your mouth.

Faster absorption is not the only benefit of drinking cold water during runs. Drinking cold water during a hot run also makes you feel cooler. And the effect is not just psychological. The cold water also produces a slight physiological cooling effect, which is obviously important when running in hot weather.

It's not always easy to keep your water cold during hot weather runs. It helps to use a hand-held water bottle with an insulated cover so the warmth from your hands doesn't immediately warm up the water. You can also put ice in your water bottle or partially freeze your water bottle before your runs so the water stays cold as the ice melts.

More: Proper Hydration for Running

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