A unique environment becomes present when the summer arrives. Sweat rates are high due to high humidity levels and high temperatures. People sweat to help keep their body at the optimum temperature of 98.6 degrees F. While sweating is good, dehydration or hypohydration are not beneficial. When you lose 1 percent of your body weight in sweat you are dehydrated and you know you are because you become thirsty. The more sever effects of dehydration include dry mouth, decreased fine motor skills, fatigue, decreased cognitive abilities and a decreased ability to maintain a low core body temperature.
This can be prevented with a few simple steps. First of all, you need to consume half your body weight in ounces daily to maintain proper hydration status. For example; a 100 pound person would need to consume 50 ounces of water a day. When exercise is included in your daily activities, more water needs to be consumed. It is recommended by the National Athletic Trainers Association that 16 ounces or 500 mL of water 2 hours prior to exercising. It is also important to consume water during exercise. The recommendation is to consume approximately 8.25 ounces every 15 minutes or 1 liter of fluid 1 hour. This will help replace the fluids being lost by sweat. If you plan to exercise at a moderate to high intensity for more than 50 minutes it is recommended that an electrolyte and carbohydrate drink such as Gatorade be utilized to help rehydrate you.
After exercising there are many ways to replenish the electrolytes, carbohydrates and fluids that have been lost. If you eat a well-balanced diet and consume a meal within 1 hour of your exercise session, then there is a lessor need for an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade. If you are unable to eat within 1 hour of exercise it is recommended that you consume a drink that has fluids, salt and carbohydrates such as chocolate milk, Gatorade or PowerAde.
Danielle Kyle, ATC, CSCS
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Casa DJ, Armstrong LE, Hillman SK, Montain SJ, Reiff RV, Rich BSE, Roberts WO, Stone JA. Journal of Athletic Training. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. 200; 35(2): 212-224