What Is Hydration?
Hydration is the level of water and electrolytes available for your body to maintain a particular level of performance. Hydration is lost due to sweating during intense activity and exercise.
Facts about Hydration
A human can survive 4x longer without food than without water. Muscular tissue is approximately 75% water. The daily water needed for average size adults is 2-2.5 liters (higher for athletes).
Fluid Loss (as a percent of body weight)
- 1% = Elevation of core body temperature
- 3% = Impaired performance (fatigue)
- 5% = Cardiovascular strain (heart)
- 7% = Decrease ability to regulate heat
- 10+%= Heat Stroke, unconsciousness
Electrolytes Are in Sweat
Electrolytes are salts (ions) which are needed to maintain the body’s normal electrical function – Potassium, Chloride, Sodium, Magnesium.
How to Practice
- Thirst does not mean you should START drinking – it means you’re too late! Drink water early and often.
- Colder drinks empty the stomach quicker and are more easily absorbed into the body.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine — these are “diuretics” which cause the body to force out fluid.
- Avoid salt tablets — the large majority of athletes get enough table salt in their diet (excess salt can thicken the blood).
- Hydrate before, during, and after physical activity
- Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas)
- Count bathroom breaks (indicates enough water)
- Add a hydration reminder to your monitoring chart
Victor Liberi , MS, ATC, STS, Instructor of Sports Medicine, Athletic Training Education Program Clinical Coordinator, University of Southern Maine
“Dilution is the solution to pollution.” –Heidi Smith