PRACTICAL TIPS FOR EXERCISE HYDRATION
#1: DRINK TO THIRST
Thirst is a tightly regulated system. You do not usually need to go beyond it. And when you do drink, remember to:
#2: DRINK ELECTROLYTE WATER
You lose both sodium and water through sweat. If you only replace the water, your sodium levels will fall. Then you will feel and perform like garbage.
- Two options here:
- Mix up your own electrolyte home-brew.
- Use a high-sodium electrolyte drink mix like Liquid IV (Costco), Ultima (Amazon, Walmart)
- Gatorade, Propel, Pedialyte, or anything with electrolytes in it.
- Remember, athletes can lose up to 7 grams of sodium per day while exercising in warm climates. You may need more than one stick on the sweatiest of days! Start hydrating the night before and limit the amount of coffee prior to exercise since coffee is a diuretic. (Coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol are drinks that people associate with dehydration)
#3: HYDRATE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER EXERCISE
Don’t wait until the race is over to worry about hydration. Sip electrolyte water before and during exercise too.
#4: WHICH LIQUIDS ARE THE BEST
For most outdoor activities, good old-fashioned tap water does the trick. If your activity lasts an hour or more, either fruit juice diluted with water or a sports drink will provide carbohydrates for energy plus minerals to replace lost electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) in your sweat. Learn what electrolytes do, as well as which foods have the highest content.
Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and All Sport can give you a needed energy boost during your activity. They are designed to rapidly replace fluids and to increase the sugar (glucose) circulating in your blood.
How does dehydration affect athletic performance?
Our body is 50-65% water and proper hydration plays a role in everything from overall athletic performance and mental focus to immune health. Dehydration can negatively impact performance and cause early fatigue. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, dark urine, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, poor appetite, nausea, and cramping.
WEBMD Article: Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Article written by: Robb Wolf