Many people are confused as to how much fluids they should consume, if they require sports drinks, or should be supplementing with sodium especially as July heats up!
The Adequate Intake(AI) of fluid is 16c for men and 12c for women daily. However this does not mean to AI needs to be consumed as water since foods such as fruits and vegetables contain water. Good hydration is important to keep the core temperature and heart rate lower for better training. In order to promote hydration, it is key for an athlete to be well hydrated before physical activity. This can be a challenge as many of us are “chronically dehydrated” due to inadequate fluid intake. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine generally recommend 5-7mL of fluid per kg body weight 4 hours before exercise. After exercise,athletes are cautioned to fully replete fluid losses with the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics encouraging 16-24oz/pound of fluid lost through exercise.
The average person can replete lost electrolytes, including Sodium through their typical diet as Americans consume 1,000-3,000mg more sodium than is required daily. Sodium repletion is necessary for athletes who spend hours training daily and in hotter temperatures where for example 8 liters of fluid can be lost in 5hrs.
To Promote Hydration and Beat the July Heat:
- Pre-hydrate by paying attention to the weather report and hydrate!
- Know the warning signs for dehydration: thirst, fatigue, dizziness, headache, dark urine, rapid heartbeat.
- Pack fluids to sip on throughout the day.
- Hydration Training= learning to drink while you train
- Invest in a fuel belt and carry your fluids through your exercise!
- Some people barely drink… If this is you: consider a “fluid schedule” and set an alarm as needed !
- Monitor your intake of diuretics (coffee, alcohol, tea) which counteract the work you have done for hydration.