Proper hydration during athletic training is important to optimize comfort, performance, and safety. Human muscle tissue is made up of 75% water and the body loses water through perspiration, or sweating, during exercise. Thus, it is vital to drink plenty of hydrating fluids before, during, and after physical activity.
Drinking enough water has a significant impact on many bodily functions that are needed for optimal athletic performance. Water helps to lubricate and cushion joints, transport oxygen and nutrients in the blood to different cells in the body, and regulate body temperature. Athletes who lose up to 2% of total body weight in fluids will begin to have hindered athletic performance due to dehydration.
Signs of Dehydration
- Dry mouth/thirst
- Muscle cramps
- Dark urine
- Rapid heart rate
- Clammy skin
- Decreased sweating
Water is the best and easiest way to rehydrate an athlete, but when we sweat we are losing more than just water. Sweat is a mixture of water, electrolytes and other trace elements. Sports drink offer a way to replenish electrolyte losses, but keep in mind they also contain carbohydrates. Therefore, they should only be used if these carbohydrates will be put to good use. If an athlete is not exercising intensely for longer than 1 hour a sports drink is not recommended. Caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks, coffee and tea should not be consumed because they act as diuretics and increase urination, and this leads to dehydration.
Hydration Before Exercise
Drink about 15-20 fl oz water, 2-3 hours before exercise
Drink 8-10 fl oz water 10-15 min before exercise
Hydration During Exercise
Drink 8-10 fl oz water every 10-15 min during exercise
*If exercising longer than 60 minutes, may alternate between water and sports drink
Hydration After Exercise
Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses
Drink 20-24 fl oz water for every 1 lb lost
Workout safely, stay healthy, and stay hydrated.
By: Elizabeth Gabriel – ABA Nutritionist