Do's and Don'ts of Hydration

Did you know that a two-percent decrease in the body's dehydration level can cause a significant decrease in athletic performance? The key to preventing dehydration is drinking enough fluids throughout the day and around exercise.

Take a look at the Do's and Don’ts of Hydration:

  • DO drink before exercise and weigh yourself! You should consume one bottle of water or sports drink 2-3 hours prior to your workout or game, and then drink another cup (5-10 ounces) of water about 10 minutes before the activity. Weighing your self is key to see how much weight you lose during the workout or how dehydrated you become.
  • DO drink during exercise! You should be consuming about a cup (5-10 ounces) of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes throughout exercise.
  • DO drink after exercise and weigh yourself! As soon as you finish your workout or game, weigh yourself, see how much weight you lost, and drink 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost.
  • DON’T rely solely on water! After an hour of exercise and when you exercise in very hot/humid conditions, you need to add a sports drink into your fluid intake to provide you with carbohydrate and electrolytes.
  • DON’T over-drink! Water is a good thing, but you can get too much of it. Make sure you drink adequately, but don’t just keep drinking for the fun of it; this can be harmful to your body.
  • DON’T restrict salt in your diet! Salt in the diet replaces salt lost in sweat and helps you stay thirsty so that you drink enough fluid during exercise. Snacks like pretzels, crackers, soups, deli meats etc. can help you take in adequate amounts of salt.

Finally, be able to recognize the classic signs of dehydration:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dry mouth

Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! So drink up ALL DAY long to help you maintain adequate hydration levels.

Have a question? Ask at amygoodson@texashealth.org

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