Did you know that dehydrating a muscle by 3% can cause a 10% loss of strength?
Drinking regularly during exercise can prevent declines in concentration and skill level, improve perceived exertion, prevent excessive elevations in heart rate and body temperature and improve performance - good justification to make fluid replacement a key priority during exercise.
Not to mention the other benefits for drinking fluids throughout the remainder of the day – for example removing toxins from the body, transporting nutrients, increased oxygen available to cells, and so on.
Here are some tips to ensure you remain well hydrated during training:
- Begin each exercise session in fluid balance. This requires drinking regularly throughout the day leading up to training or competition. Have a drink with all meals and snacks.
- Immediately, before exercise commences, consume 200-600 ml of fluid.
- Develop a plan for fluid intake for all exercise sessions longer than 30 minutes. Aim to match previous fluid losses as closely as possible (within 1% of body mass). Take into account all the opportunities within the workout.
- Begin drinking early in the exercise session and continue to drink small amounts regularly. Sports drinks or water are the best options.
- Replace any residual fluid deficit after exercise. You will need to drink 150% of any fluid deficit in the 4-6 hours after exercise to account for ongoing sweat and urinary losses. When fluid losses are high and/or rapid rehydration is required, sodium replacement may be required. Sports drinks, oral rehydration solutions and salty foods can all contribute to sodium replacement.
Don’t forget that hot summer days does mean more sweating, so account for this in your fluid uptake.