Susan Nordmark, Dietetic Intern, UIC
Now that the weather is heating up…it’s time to
reach for that water bottle. Taking
in fluid during exercise is one of the most important techniques a person can
perform to maintain or improve their performance. Unfortunately, its importance is often overlooked.
The body regulates its temperature by sweating.
Common sense tells us that as we sweat, we need to replace the lost body
fluid. Research has shown however,
that most people replace only 50% of the fluid they lose during exercise.
Increased perspiration without replacing lost fluid leads to dehydration.
This leads to decreased blood volume, where the heart compensates by
working harder. Dehydration may
start out as lightheadedness, progress to irritability and fatigue (heat
exhaustion) and eventually lead to a dangerously high core body temperature
(heat stroke). If you wait until
you are thirsty to drink, you are already dehydrated!
Drink what you like (you will take more in that way).
Water is always a good suggestion for workouts less than one hour. Consider a sports drink if you plan on exercising for more
than one hour to provide more benefit. Stay
away from caffeinated products, as they require even more fluid intake.
Avoid fruit juices (such as orange or grapefruit) before and during
exercise, as they decrease water absorption.
Drink adequate fluids (8 cups) one full day in advance of exercise.
Drink two cups (16 oz.) two hours before exercise (allowing time for
elimination). Drink at regular
intervals during exercise.
To prevent heat related illnesses. Maintain
ability to exercise at optimum levels.
drinking during easy exercise. Use
a bottle belt. Stash water bottles
along your route before you exercise.
HOW MUCH: For each pound lost during exercise, replace with one
pint (16 oz.) of fluid. (This means
you have to weigh yourself before and after workouts.)
Most people lose 2-6 cups of sweat per hour of exercise.
TIPS to avoid
dehydration during events:
lightly in hot/humid weather
of the sun
drinking before races
the top of the cup to avoid spilling while drinking
straw to drink from the glass
more useful in your stomach than it is poured over your head