Dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue and hinders optimal performance. Proper hydration and electrolyte balance is necessary for every individual to perform at their highest level in their daily life. Electrolytes are the various types of salts in our body fluids that play a key role in physiology (function) of physical activity. If not properly hydrated, fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms can set in very quickly.
Factors to be considered when dealing with dehydration of athletes include:
▪ sweat rate
▪ exercise intensity
▪ duration of activity
The American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for staying hydrated before, during, and after an activity are as follows:
1. Drink at least 17-20 oz. of water 2-3 hours before activity.
2. Drink at least 8 oz. of water 20-30 minutes prior to activity or during your warm up.
3. Drink at least 7-10 oz. of water every 10-20 minutes during activity.
4. Drink at least 8 oz. no more than 30 minutes following activity.
The summer months have come and although every individual will react a specific way in certain conditions, it is important to always be prepared and properly hydrated. Drink water before you begin to get thirsty. For exercise longer than 1 hour, one should begin consuming electrolytes, primarily sodium. This can be in the form of a food or drink with at least 250 mg of sodium per 0.5 liter (or about 100 mg per 8 ounces). Keep a water bottle filled with you at all times throughout your day and don’t let dehydration be a factor in your daily life!