This summer, it is important to be prepared when exercising outdoors. Our bodies are composed of about 75% water, which may be lost as sweat, faster than it is replenished. The body perspires to release excess heat and allow for evaporation to cool the skin. Electrolytes which help to maintain proper hydration are lost through the same process. Heat, humidity, exercise intensity and individual factors will influence how quickly a person perspires. Unintentional dehydration can be caused by poor choices in fluid intake, dislike of the available options, avoidance of a ‘full,’ feeling, or a misunderstanding of proper hydration.
Hydration as it relates to body weight lost during exercise:
|% Body Weight Loss||Symptoms|
|2%||Stronger thirst, discomfort, loss of appetite|
|3%||Dry mouth, reduced urine|
|4%||Increased effort, flushed skin, impatience|
|7%||Impaired temperature regulation|
|8%||Dizziness, labored breathing, confusion|
Good strategies to maintain hydration are as follows:
- Do not rely on thirst alone to indicate hydration levels during the summer.
- Begin hydrating 2 to 3 hours before exercising with 14-22 ounces of water.
- During exercise drink 6-12 ounces of water for every 15-20 minutes. Adjust up or down for exercise intensity and weather.
- Post exercise replenish any weight lost with water, *electrolytes for proper balance and recovery.
- Eat foods that assist in hydration and electrolyte balance such as watermelon, cucumbers, mung beans and lotus seeds.
*Electrolyte drink sources: coconut water or sport drinks (no high fructose corn syrup added).