Stay Hydrated: Fluid Facts for Athletes

 Stay Hydrated: Fluid Facts for Athletes

We all know that we require sufficient quantities of water to survive; we can go weeks without food, but only days without water. Our bodies dehydrate very quickly, especially when we are exercising and it is imperative for health that we replace lost fluid at regular intervals throughout the day.

When you are busy throughout the day, it is easy to forget to drink enough water. Current government guidelines recommend that we drink 1.2 liters of water daily, but that doesn’t take into account replacing lost fluid whilst exercising. Tea and coffee do not count as even though they are made with water, the caffeine, and other ingredients put these drinks in the diuretics category, meaning that they can in fact cause dehydration.

Caffeine is often used in sports supplements and it certainly has its place as a performance enhancer, just don’t rely on it to quench your thirst or replenish your fluid levels.

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There are, of course, plenty of sports drinks on the market, but the best way to get fluid into your body when you are exercising is by drinking water. All professional athletes and sports people know that dehydration can have a marked effect on performance and be dehydrated by just 2% are enough to cause problems, especially for professionals and those who take it seriously.

Your body will be around 50% – 70% water and this water is required to ensure that your body can use nutrients efficiently, rid the body of toxins and waste through your kidneys in the form of urine and also regulate your body temperature by causing sweat to form on your skin. Your body will start to feel the effects of dehydration even before you feel thirsty, in fact, the first symptom may be tiredness and a headache. Passing dark urine is another sign that you are not drinking enough and this can lead to urine infections too.


Therefore, don’t wait until you feel thirsty, as this is often too late. You know that you need to hydrate when you are exercising, so take plenty of fluid on board and drink water whilst you exercise or during regular intervals throughout your game or workout.

This also applies if you are exercising at home. Companies such as supply sophisticated home exercise equipment for personal use which can give you as much of a workout as anything you encounter at the gym.

When you become dehydrated, it is not just your muscles that suffer. Your organs have a high concentration of water, especially the brain, which is up to 80% water. If you aren’t drinking enough water, your reaction times will also be compromised and this can be a real problem when playing some sports.

If you really don’t like water, cordial is fine, a little sugar-free fruit squash is perfectly acceptable, or you could try a sports drink. They usually contain a high percentage of water anyway, but the taste may be more acceptable. If you intend to exercise for longer than an hour, then squash or another water-based drink that contains a little carbohydrate may indeed be required for optimum performance.

It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to drink enough fluids. Dehydration can cause a number of problems including poor performance, but worse than that, it can cause headaches, dizziness, illness, and even, in extreme circumstances, death. So, next time you go to the gym or training pitch, make sure you take a bottle of water with you.

Also Read: 5 Tips for the Gym

Prakhar Singh

A man who loves writing about health and fitness more than anything. His interest area include alternative health, education, Yoga and meditation. Whenever he is free from his study, he enjoys to write content to spread knowledge.

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