Have a drink on me!

With the weather changing from extreme heat to colder temperatures, it is as important as ever to make sure you are properly hydrated before, during, and after you exercise. “Staying hydrated is essential for everyone, but athletes have an even greater need to maintain proper hydration. Water is the most important nutrient for life and has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body” (Quinn 2011).

What can happen through dehydration? With as little as a 2% decrease in your body weight through sweating, your heart will begin to work harder to circulate blood. Muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, and heat illnesses i.e. heat exhaustion and heat stroke have been known to occur. Some of the causes of dehydration include inadequate fluid intake, excessive sweating, not replacing fluids lost during and after exercise, exercising in dry extreme weather, and drinking only when thirsty.

Everyone is different when it comes to how much we sweat, how much fluids we lose through exercise, and how our hydration levels are to begin with. That being said it is difficult to provide “SPECIFIC” hydration guidelines for us to follow. Two simple assessments to see if you’re adequately hydrated are,

Monitoring urine volume output and color:

A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated.

Weighing yourself before and after exercise:

Any weight lost is likely from fluid, so try to drink enough to replenish those losses. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.

How do we lose water/fluids through exercise? I’m of the opinion that we must know before hand what the environment that we are going to train in is like. We “CAN” control how we eat, sleep, move, rest and hydrate, but we can’t control the elements that Mother Nature throws our way. We are at her mercy and to an extent the same goes for our landscape (topography). Here are some things to consider,

High Altitude:

Exercising at altitude increases your fluid losses and therefore increases you fluid needs.

Temperature:

Exercising in the heat increases you fluid losses through sweating and exercise in the cold can impair you ability to recognize fluid losses and increase fluid lost through respiration. In both cases it is important to hydrate.

Sweating:

Some athletes sweat more than others. If you sweat a lot you are at greater risk for dehydration. Again, weigh yourself before and after exercise to judge sweat loss.

Exercise Duration and Intensity:

Exercising for hours (endurance sports) means you need to drink more and more frequently to avoid dehydration.

OK, so how much water and or fluids should we consume before, during, and after we exercise? If you are training regularly, you will probably need between one half and one whole ounce of water (or other fluids) for each pound of body weight per day. To determine your baseline range for water   requirements, use the following formula:

Low end of range= Body weight (lbs.) x 0.5 = (ounces of fluid/day)

High end of range=Body weight (lbs.) x 1 = (ounces of fluid/day)

For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your approximate water requirement will be between 75 and 150 ounces each day.

When to Drink Water During Exercise:

Begin the day with a large glass of water each morning, whether it’s a training or a rest day. On training days, the following schedule works well for most athletes:

Water (Fluid) Intake Schedule

Before Exercise:

Drink two to three cups of water (16-24 oz.) within the two to three hours before your workout. Drink 8-10 fl oz. 10-15 min before exercise

Weigh yourself immediately before you begin your workout.

During Exercise:                                                        

Drink one cup (8 oz.) of water every 15 minutes.

If exercising longer than 90 minutes, drink 8-10 fl oz. of a sports drink (with no more than 8 percent carbohydrate) every 15 – 30 minutes.

After Exercise:

Weigh yourself immediately after you finish your workout.

Drink two to three cups of water (16-24 oz.) for each pound lost during exercise.

How Much Water to Drink During Endurance Exercise:

If you are exercising at a moderate to high intensity for more than 90 minutes, you will want to consume more than plain water. You need to replenish glycogen stores with easy-to-digest carbohydrate. Sports drinks can be an easy way to add the necessary energy. For longer workouts, choose a drink with 60 to 100 calories per eight ounces and consume eight to ten ounces every 15 to 30 minutes based upon your preference.

For those exercising in extreme conditions over three, four or five hours, you’ll need to replace electrolytes. A complex sports drink, NUUN tablets, or other foods will help provide the needed calories and electrolytes required for continuous performance.

“Although rare, athletes can drink too much water and suffer from hyponatremia (water intoxication). Drinking excessive amounts of water can cause a low concentration of sodium in the blood – a serious medical emergency” (Quinn 2011).

Until next time,

-Arthur-

 

Reference:

Quinn, E. (2007 December, 2) ACSM clarifies indicators for   replacement. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/hydration/a/022504.htm

Quinn, E. (2011 April, 15) What to drink for proper hydration during exercise? http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/ProperHydration.htm

Quinn, E. (2011 August, 24) How much water should you drink? http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/qt/How-Much-Water-Should-You-Drink.htm

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