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).

Action Steps

  1. Hydrate before, during, and after physical activity
  2. Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas)
  3. Count bathroom breaks (indicates enough water)
  4. 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

Mental Training, Inc.
Dallas, Texas