Yes, proper hydration is important to all athletes. If you are not properly hydrated, you will not perform to your potential, even if exercise is only a few minutes long. So obviously, the longer the task the greater decrease one will experience in performance when fluid levels are inadequate. Also, it is important to realize that performance is negatively affected before thirst is triggered. In case you are wondering how performance is impaired by small fluid deficits, part of it is probably the decrease in plasma volume. Since that’s how we deliver oxygen to the working muscles, any reduction would hamper performance. Additionally, when we lose fluids, especially during exercise, we also lose electrolytes that are involved in muscle and nerve function and use glycogen, the body’s fuel. Therefore, proper intake of all three is the general formula for maintaining proper hydration for extended periods.

General Fluid Requirements

• Fluids should be cold, palatable, selected based on the type and duration of the activity.

• Sports drinks should contain 4-8% carbohydrate

• Solutions containing primarily fructose can cause an upset stomach and should be avoided

Pre-exercise Guidelines

• Drink approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid two hours before activity.

• On warm or humid days, drink an additional 8-16oz 30-60min before activity.

• Water is adequate for activities less than an hour as long as meals are consumed regularly

• For endurance events, training sessions longer than 60 minutes, or multiple practices a day, choose a sport drink containing four to eight percent carbohydrate (e.g. Gatorade).

During Exercise

• Depending on your sport, consume 3-6oz of water or sports drink every 15 minutes.  This equates to approximately 32 ounces per hour

• For prolonged exercise greater than 60 minutes, choose a sports drink with small amounts of electrolytes

Post-exercise Guidelines

• Immediately following activity, drink at least 16-20oz of fluid for every pound of weight lost to ensure proper rehydration.

• A liquid shake with high carbohydrate content, minimal protein and fat can refuel energy stores and maximize recovery after demanding training bouts. Consume this as soon as possible after workouts or events:

• Drink an additional 16 ounces with your post workout meal. This meal should be consumed within two hours after activity

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