Hydration: Key to Healthy and Safe Exercise
Did you know you have between 2 and 4 million sweat glands? Sweating is the body’s natural way to regulate internal temperature. It simply is trying to cool you while you exercise. Sweat loss varies from person to person and can depend on the activity being performed, the surrounding environment and each individual’s fitness levels.
Knowing your body and its limits are key to healthy and safe exercise. Excessive sweating without the proper refueling can lead to dehydration, which if not dealt with properly can cause significant problems. Without proper hydration you are at greater risk for exertional heat illness, painful muscle cramping, and in some cases you can experience hyponatremia. Hyponatremia occurs after excessive sodium is lost during rigorous exercise, and causes symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, and, in extreme cases, death. All of these conditions can be prevented with some planning and awareness of your own body.
To make sure you are exercising and hydrating properly there are a few things you can do. The most basic thing you can do is to make sure you get the recommend 8-10 glasses of water daily. In addition to that if you are going to be exercising, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 16-20oz of water at least 4 hours prior to exercise, and 8-12oz around 15 minutes before exercise. Then it is recommend that you hydrate with small drinks throughout exercise to maintain fluid levels. How much replenishing needed during exercise depends on the intensity and duration of exercise. ACSM recommends 3-8oz roughly every 15 minutes during exercise. After exercise it is recommended that for every pound of weight lost, you should replace it with 20-24oz of water or an electrolyte drink.
Proper hydration is key to performing well and feeling great! So why not try and improve fluid intake as we work towards being happy, healthy, and awesome!
Helpful tips for easy hydration:
- If you don’t like the taste or are tired of plain water add lemons, limes, mint or cucumber for a refreshing twist.
- Drink water at restaurants or other functions, it is free and helps towards hydration goals.
- Some fruits and veggies like watermelon, lettuce, and tomatoes are an easy source of water.
Macy Kujawa ATC
Edwardsburg High School Athletic Trainer
Beacon Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists