To find the correct balance of fluids for exercise, the AmericanCollege
Of Sports Medicine suggests the following:
Eat a high carbohydrate, low
fat diet & drink plenty of fluids between exercise sessions. Plain
water or fluids without sugar, caffeine or alcohol are the best.
Drink 17 oz (2+ Cups) of
fluid 2 hours before exercise.
Drink every 15 minutes during
Keep drinks cooler than air
temperature & close at hand (a water bottle is ideal).
If you exercise for more than
60 minutes, you may benefit from a sports drink containing carbohydrate
(not greater than 8% concentration, though).
Take 30-60 grams of
carbohydrate per hour to delay fatigue & fuel muscle contractions.
Inclusion of sodium (0.5-0.7
g.1(-1) of water) ingested during exercise lasting longer than an hour may
enhance palatability, and therefore encourage athletes to drink enough.
Helpful hydration tips:
Estimated 75% of all Americans are
Drink half your body weight in pounds in ounces of water (e.g.150 pound
individual should consume 75 ounces of water).
Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water -- drink water all throughout
Make sure your children drink enough water instead of sugar-laden juices or
Drinking 8 to 16 ounces of water 20 minutes before a meal suppresses your
appetite and aids in digestion.
How much is enough?
To get an idea of just how much you need to drink, weigh yourself before and after your workouts. Any weight decrease is probably due to water loss (sorry, but you didn't just lose 2 pounds of body fat). Any weight gain could indicate you are drinking too much.
Sports drinks can be helpful to athletes who are exercising at a high intensity for 60 minutes or more. Fluids supplying 60 to 100 calories per 8 ounces helps to supply the needed calories required for continuous performance.
It's really not necessary to replace losses of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes during exercise since you're unlikely to deplete your body's stores of these minerals during normal training.
If, however, you find yourself exercising in extreme conditions over 3 or 5 hours (a marathon, Ironman or ultramarathon, for example) you will need to add a complex sports drink with electrolytes.
Athletes who don't consume electrolytes under these conditions risk overhydration or hyponatremia. The most likely occurence is found in the longer events (five hours or more) when athletes drink excessive amounts of electrolyte free water, and develop hyponatremia (low blood sodium concentration).
While caffeine may have some ergogenic properties, remember that it acts as a diuretic causing your body to excrete fluid instead of retaining it, so it is not the wisest choice when trying to hydrate. You're better off with plain water or fruit juice until your weight reaches that of your pre-exercise state.
"To the people of poor nations, we
pledge to work alongside you to make
your farms flourish and LetCleanWatersFlow, to nourish starved
bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy
relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to
suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources
without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change
with it". Source: President Obama, Inaugural Speech, January 20, 2009, Washington, DC, USA.