If you read Monday’s blog you know that high outdoor temperatures and humidity (like we experience here in TX during the summer!) coupled with exercise can lead to extreme dehydration. But, it won’t if you make a conscious effort to stay hydrated before, during, and after your physical activity. How do you do this? Here are the fluid recommendations again:
• Start hydrating 4 hours before activity by drinking 2-3 cups (16-24 ounces) of fluid.
• If signs of dehydration are present despite this (i.e. not needing to urinate), drink another 1-2 cups (8-16 ounces) 2 hours before activity.
• Drink 6-12 ounces every 15-20 minutes of activity.
• After activity, drink 3 cups (24 ounces) for each pound lost.
Elite athletes and weekend warriors alike often believe that the best fluid replacement during exercise is a sports drink. After all, it has sodium and potassium to replace these electrolytes that are lost during exercise, right? While sports drinks do have their time and place, plain water is adequate under many (maybe most) circumstances.
Choose PLAIN WATER: when your exercise is less than 1 hour and low to moderate in intensity.
Choose a SPORTS DRINK: when your exercise is greater than 1 1/2 hours and moderate intensity OR greater than 1 hour and high intensity OR you are exercising in extreme heat.
What’s the advantage of a sports drink?
What’s the disadvantage of a sports drink?
So what do you think? Do you see many people (including yourself?) drinking sports drinks when plain water would be recommended? How might you make plain water more palatable if you don’t like it’s taste?
American College of Sports Medicine; Sawka MN, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 39:377-390, 2007.