is critical to all body functions and makes up about 60 percent of a person's body weight. Water helps move nutrients throughout the body and helps remove waste from the body. Replacing the fluids lost during exercise is essential to sustaining performance, preventing dehydration , and avoiding injury. Even mild dehydration can cause muscle and body fatigue, which will reduce athletic performance. Since thirst is not always a reliable indicator of fluid loss, athletes should drink fluids before they get really thirsty.
Did You Know??
Eight to ten cups a water a day is the recommended daily intake for most people. However, extra fluids are needed by athletes to replenish what is lost during exercise. Drinks with caffeine or alcohol should be avoided, as they are dehydrating. Exercising in extreme heat increases fluid needs even more, since more is lost through sweat. Taking in too much water can be just as dangerous as not taking in enough.
Sports drinks can be helpful, especially for events lasting sixty minutes or longer. In addition to fluid, they provide the advantage of quick replacement of carbohydrate and minerals and also replace electrolytes lost in sweat.
Dehydration is the excessive loss of water from the body. Water can be lost through urine, sweat, respiration, and through the skin. Symptoms of dehydration in order of severity are: thirst, nausea , chills, clammy skin, increased heart rate, muscle pain, reduced sweating, dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, dry mouth, fatigue , lack of sweating, hallucinations, fainting, and loss of consciousness. Dehydration can affect mental alertness, renal function, circulation, and total physical capacity.
Did you know??
When the body is dehydrated, blood circulation decreases and the muscles do not receive enough oxygen for maximum performance. Thirst is an indication that dehydration has already occurred, so it is important to drink frequently during exercise, before thirst sets in.
The following can help you to avoid dehydration:
- Drink before feeling thirsty
- Drink enough fluid to have pale yellow urine
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which act as diuretics- A diuretic is any substance that promotes the production of urine. All diuretics increase the excretion of water and salts from bodies.
- tea, coffee, chocolate, celery seeds, asparagus, tomatoes, oats etc...
- Drink two to three cups of fluid two hours before exercise or heavy outside work in hot temperatures
- Drink one to two cups of fluid every fifteen minutes during exercise or heavy outside work in hot temperatures
- Avoid exercising during midday heat, and wear appropriate clothing that allows airflow around the body
Athletes, elderly persons, young children, and those with specific illnesses that affect fluid balance, such as severe diarrhea, are at higher risk for dehydration than the average person.