Fluids and Exercise Post 1

Walk around a modern gym, and you will notice everyone has a towel, cool exercise clothes and a large water bottle. Yes, drinking water is in style — before, during and after exercise. From children on the soccer field to weight lifters in the gym, the best performance enhancer is plain old water.

Why Are Fluids Important for the Athlete?
Athletes risk dehydration because of excessive sweat loss. Water cools the body during exercise. A large loss of body fluid can reduce an athlete’s ability to perform, and increase the risk of serious heat illness.

The symptoms of dehydration are dark urine with small volume, elevated heart rate while resting and a headache. If you ignore your thirst or limit your fluid intake, you may experience these problems:

Heat cramps. Symptoms include thirst, chills, goose bumps, clammy skin, throbbing heart beat, nausea, muscle pain and spasms. Treat heat cramps with cold liquids — 1/2 cup every 10 to 15 minutes. Get into the shade and remove excess clothing.

Heat exhaustion. Seen often on the first couple of days of new season. The athlete is not as well conditioned as at the end of the season. Symptoms include reduced sweating, shortness of breath, dry mouth, rapid pulse, headache, dizziness and fatigue. Put the athlete in a cool spot (ice bag on his or her head), take off wet clothing and sit him or her in a cool shower. Have him or her drink 2 cups of cool water or sports drink for every pound lost.

Heat stroke. This is a medical emergency because the athlete’s body temperature is excessive. Symptoms include lack of sweat; dry, hot skin; visual problems; swollen tongue; deafness; nervousness and unsteady walking. The athlete may collapse, lose consciousness and convulse. You must act quickly. Get medical attention to replenish fluids intravenously and reduce body temperature.

Fluid Goals
Prevent dehydration by drinking before you are thirsty. If you wait until you are thirsty, you will only being catching up and not at your peak fluid level.

Weigh yourself before and after a workout. This amount of sweat loss should be replaced by fluid. For each pound you lose, you should drink 2 cups of fluid.

Fluid Guidelines
Drink 2 cups of fluid 2 hours before activity, and 8 ounces immediately before activity.
Drink during exercise, about 4 to 6 ounces every 15 minutes.
Drink 2 cups of fluid for every pound lost after exercise.
Don’t wait for thirst to tell you when to drink!
Drink water or diluted juice (add double the water) before exercise, water during exercise (a sports drink if exercise lasts 60 minutes), and water and sweet beverages after exercise.
Check the color of your urine to see if fluid intake is adequate. Pale, light-colored urine indicates you are well hydrated.