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Running on a treadmill is a great way to escape the heat on a warm day. While getting out of the heat can reduce your chances of dehydration, you still need to drink fluids while exercising. Drink the right amount of the right fluids to keep yourself healthy and performing at your peak.
Less Than 20 Minutes
If you go for a quick run -- less than 20 minutes -- then you do not need to drink while you're on the treadmill. The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends that you drink 1 cup of water every 20 minutes while exercising. This means that if you run for 20 minutes or less, you can simply rehydrate when you get off the treadmill. If you prefer, you can keep a water bottle handy and drink as you run; this is a good idea if you have trouble getting water down after exercising.
Beyond 20 Minutes
When you run for more than 20 minutes, you should have water available on the treadmill. Have a cup of water available for every 20 minutes that you plan to run -- so if you run for 40 minutes, for example, have 2 cups of water available. If you take breaks while you run, you can also drink off the treadmill -- but make sure that you take in enough fluid either way.
Beyond 90 Minutes
When you run for more than 90 minutes, your fluid needs don't increase -- you still need 1 cup for every 20 minutes of running -- but your body will need more salt and carbohydrates. The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports suggests adding salt and sugar to your water when your exercise goes beyond 90 minutes. It suggests a mixture of 8 ounces of water, 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and some flavoring like lemon juice.
Dangers of Dehydration
According to competitive runner and physiologist Pete Pfitzinger, dehydration hurts your performance as a runner and hurts your ability to recover before your next run. This means that if you run while dehydrated, you may hurt your future performance if you are preparing for a race. Pfitzinger says that if you continue to run while dehydrated, you could get heat stroke, which can even be fatal.