Posts Tagged ‘Fluid Intake’

Top tips for hydrating during exercise

Why is it so important to stay properly hydrated?

Whether you’re a serious athlete or recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during and after exercising.

Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates joints and helps transport nutrients for energy and health.

If you’re not properly hydrated, your body will be unable to perform at its highest level, and you may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms such as increased heart rate.



How do I know if I am properly hydrated?

A simple way to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated is to check your urine. If your urine is consistently colour-less or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated.

TIP: Dark yellow or amber-coloured urine is a sign of dehydration.

How much water do I need to be drinking?

There are no set guidelines for water intake while exercising because everyone is different. Some of the factors you must consider are:

  • sweat rate
  • heat
  • humidity
  • exercise intensity
  • duration of exercise

Basic water intake guidelines

autralian-institute-of-sport-logoThe Australian Institute of Sport suggests the following basic water intake guidelines for people doing moderate to high intensity exercises.

Before Exercise

For most sports and types of exercise, it is recommended that you drink regularly throughout the day leading up to exercise and another 200-600 mL immediately before exercising.

TIP: Water is usually a suitable fluid to drink before exercising.


Fluid intake during exercise

Fluid loss can impair performance and can affect your body’s ability to control its own temperature.

If you are exercising for less than 60 minutes, you should drink approximately 200 mL of fluid every 15-20 minutes. Water is appropriate in this situation.

For longer duration activities (more than 60 minutes of vigorous exercise) where there is a risk of glycogen depletion, a sports drink containing glucose and electrolytes can be most effective.

For activities lasting several hours these sports drinks can be supplemented with energy bars.

Fluid intake after exercise

Replacing fluid stores largely depends on how much fluid was lost during exercise. This can be calculated by comparing your pre- and post-exercise bodyweight.

Any weight loss you experience is most likely from fluid loss and needs to be replaced with water.

The Australian Institute of Sport recommends you will need to drink 150% of any fluid deficit in the 4-6 hours after exercise to account for ongoing sweat and urinary losses.

When fluid losses are high and/or rapid rehydration is required, sodium replacement may be required such as a sports drink, oral rehydration solutions and salty foods all help replace lost sodium.

Summary of Fluid Guidelines (Australian Institute of Sport 2014)

    • Begin each exercise session in fluid balance. This requires drinking regularly throughout the day leading up to training or competition. Have a drink with all meals and snacks.
    • Immediately, before exercise commences, consume 200-600 ml of fluid.
    • Develop a plan for fluid intake for all exercise sessions longer than 30 minutes. Aim to match previous fluid losses as closely as possible (within 1% of body mass). Take into account all the opportunities within the sport.
    • Begin drinking early in the exercise session and continue to drink small amounts regularly. Sports drinks or water are the best options. Replace any residual fluid deficit after exercise. Sports drinks, oral hydration solutions and salty foods can all contribute to sodium replacement.