Monday, January 12, 2009

Get your drink on...

...and off the course that is! I recently answered a question regarding fluid intake during exercise. This is a question that I'm often asked, so I thought I would address it here. As an athlete, I know that there are a few typical things that many athletes (beginner or experienced) tend to forgo during workout or competition, and one of those is FLUID. People do without hydration during activity for many reasons. Here are some that I've heard: "It's too annoying to stop for a drink or carry a water bottle around with you." "I'll have to go to the bathroom if I drink anything during my workout." "I don't get thirsty." "I'm not working out long enough to need anything." "I can't tolerate fluids during my workout." I hate to break the news, but fluid intake during exercise is advised for optimal training and competition whether you're a casual exerciser or a pro.

Water is an essential and often overlooked nutrient, especially during activity. About 60-70% of the body is composed of water and it serves many important functions. During exercise water is necessary for transporting nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, removing waste products, and eliminating heat from the body. Even a water loss of 1-2% of body weight can hinder exercise performance. Just think about it...without adequate fluid in the blood, the heart has to beat faster to pump all the oxygen and nutrients to those hard-working muscles. With the heart working harder and the body temp rising, a person can become more easily fatigued, and endurance and power can suffer in a very short time. In addition, with the intensity of the exercise seeming more difficult, imagine what that does for one's mental stamina?

Some people say, "Simple. I'll just drink when I'm thirsty." While that is one of the first signs of dehydration and typically a good indicator of the need for fluid intake, it's not so reliable during exercise. Why? Fluid needs during exercise can be greater than what our thirst can gauge. So, while one might take a sip or two of water and no longer feel thirsty, his/her body actually has the need for more fluid.

I'm no perfect angel here. I've tried this both ways...without consuming any or adequate fluid during workouts/competition and with. Believe me, it makes a huge difference for me personally when I make sure I'm adequately hydrated before, during, and after a workout/competition.

So, how much does one need? Drink about 5-10 oz every 15-20 minutes during exercise. One gulp is about 1 oz. Water is a perfect choice for light to moderate activity in moderate conditions lasting <90 activities="" high="" intensity="" minutes.="" moderate="" nbsp="" or="" to="">90 minutes or in hot/humid conditions, a sports drink is appropriate to replenish fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrate stores in the body. These are general guidelines, so there may be some individual differences. A Registered Dietitian may be able to help develop a fluid plan for training and competition that meets your individual needs. If you are training for an event, make sure that you train with whatever you plan to use during the event. You really don't want any surprises come race day. And no, pouring the fluid over the head does not help meet your fluid needs during activity.

Drink up!


Samantha said...[Reply to comment]

Good point - I know I never drink enough water... when I'm working out or relaxing. Thanks for the reminder Michelle!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails