Your body needs enough water to remove heat from working muscles, produce energy, and process food. Keeping well hydrated lets your body perform to its full ability and helps prevent heat illness and  cramping. Athletes SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIRST as an indicator of fluid needs. A loss of 1% of your body weight through dehydration makes your heart beat an extra 3-5 beats per minute compared to a hydrated state. That’s about 1.5 lbs for a 150 lb. individual. Our body doesn’t feel thirsty until we are already 3 percent dehydrated. At this level, an athlete’s performance will be compromised. Therefore, drinking before you are thirsty is the key to performing well.

What Athletes Should Drink
Water is appropriate and recommended  for all activities/sporting events. An electrolyte replacement fluid (Gatorade, Pedialyte, PowerAde) is appropriate for activities/sporting events and a useful  recovery agent, and is also recommended to be used  in hot weather or for individuals prone to muscle cramping.

Timing Guidelines
Before activity: Check ypur hydration status before exercise because there is a wide variability of fluid needs for each person. Drink 16-20 oz of water or a sports beverage at least 4 hours before exercise. Drink 8-12 oz of water 10-15 minutes before exercise. Consuming a beverage with sodium (salt) helps to stimulate thirst and retain fluids.

During activity: Drink 3-8 oz of water every 15-20 minutes when exercising less than 1 hour. Drink 3-8 oz of water or a sports beverage (5-8% carbohydrate with electrolytes) every 15- 20 minutes when exercising longer than 60 minutes.Do not drink more than 1 quart per hour while exercising.

After Activity: Drink 20-24 oz of water or a sports drink for every 1 pound lost.

Overhydration, also called water intoxication, is a condition where the body contains too much water. This can result in behavioral changes, confusion, drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, weight gain, muscle cramps, weakness/paralysis, and risk of death. Overhydration is treated by limiting your fluid intake and increasing the salt that you consume. If overhydration is suspected, you should see your doctor for appropriate lab tests and treatment. you should not consume more than 1 liter per hour of liquids.


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