A Matter of Safety and Performance
As the temperature rises and the sweat begins to roll down your face, it is important to arm yourself with a plan for hydration. It is well documented that people who are active are at a greater risk for compromised performance, heat-related illness and in extreme circumstances, even death. It is also very well documented that active individuals who are appropriately hydrated are better able to focus and perform at their highest levels. Athletes who exercise in the heat or sweat should get into a habit of weighing themselves before training or competition as well as immediately after. Use of a hydration schedule before, during and after practice or competition to help replenish lost weight due to extreme fluid loss is strongly recommended.
Recommended Hydration Schedule
- 2-3 hours before exercise drink 17-20oz of water
- 10-20 minutes before exercise drink another 7-10oz
- Drink early-Even minimal dehydration compromises performance
- In general, every 10-20 minutes drink at least 7-10oz of water or diluted 6 percent carbohydrate sports drink (14 grams per 8 oz). To maintain hydration, remember to stay ahead of thirst. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration status. In fact, individuals can be dehydrated or on their way to dehydration prior to becoming thirsty.
- Maintaining a consistent hydration schedule before, during and after activity is the best way to maintain proper levels of hydration.
- Optimally, drink fluids based on amount of sweat and urine loss.
- Within two hours, drink enough to replace any fluid weight lost due exercise. Drink approximately 20-24oz of water or a sports drink per pound of weight loss.
Things Not To Drink During Exercise
- Fruit Juice, carbohydrate gels, soda or beverages with greater than 8 percent carbohydrate per serving.
- Beverages containing caffeine, carbonation and alcohol can actually serve to dehydrate the body by stimulating excess urine production and are not recommended.
Source: National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA)
Courtesy of Jim Ronai MS PT ATC, L, CSCS, Member of the USA Baseball Medical & Safety Advisory Committee, Director of PT/Sports Medicine at Rehabilitation Associates Inc., and Jim Ronai's Competitive Edge Sports Performance, LLC.