Healthy & Hydrated: A guide to staying healthy in the heat!

Healthy & Hydrated:
A guide to staying healthy in the heat!
By: Bobby Thomas
            Adequate hydration is always crucial for optimal health and performance, but becomes increasingly important during the summer months.

  The goal of staying hydrated during exercise is to avoid dehydration, a dynamic loss of body water.  

During exercise, hypo-hydration (1-2% lower than normal body water content) is associated with impaired athletic performance and increases in core body temperature and cardiovascular strain.  Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can reduce the capacity for work by about 30% and may lead to more serious disturbances such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and in some cases even heat stroke (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990).

% Body Weight Change
Well Hydrated
-1 to +1 %
Minimal Dehydration
- 1 to -3%
Significant Dehydration
-3 to -5%
Serious Dehydration

Dehydration During Exercise:

-       Reduced blood volume
-       Decreased skin blood flow
-       Decreased sweat rate
-       Decreased heat dissipation
-       Increased core temperature
-       Increased rate of muscle glycogen use
-       Muscle fatigue
-       Loss of coordination

Fluid Replacement and Athletic Performance


Remember to check your hydration status before you exercise! Adequate hydration requires exercising in a ‘euhydrated state’ – you must match fluid intake to sweat rate during exercise!

ü  Drink 16-20 fluid ounces of water at least four hours before exercise
ü  Drink 8 – 12 fluid ounces of water 10-15 minutes before exercise


ü  Drink 3-8 fluid ounces of water every 15 – 20 minutes when exercises for less than 60 minutes
ü  Consider drinking 3-8 fluid ounces of a sports beverage (carbohydrate & electrolyte rich) every 15-20 minutes when exercises more than 60 minutes


ü  Check your body weight and urine to estimate fluid loss. Aim to correct these losses within two hours of exercise cessation
o   20-24 fluid ounces of water for every one pound lost!
o   Dark urine is indicative of a dehydrated state, if it’s clear you’re in the clear!


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