Did you know that the average adult body is 60% water? Maintaining water balance in the body by properly hydrating is important for normal body functioning and also exercise and performance.
Before we get into the role adequate hydration plays in exercise performance let’s review some quick terminology you will see in this blog…
You might often hear people saying if you don’t drink enough water you will get dehydrated. This is a little bit of a misnomer. Dehydration is not a state of being but rather a process. Dehydration is the process of going from an adequately hydrated state to a insufficiently hydrated state by losing body water. This adequately hydrated state is termed euhydration and the insufficiently hydrated state is termed hypohydration.
Now that we know the terminology let’s dig into why being in a euhydrated state is important for exercise performance and some ways to help you stay hydrated this summer!
When you exercise you will lose water in the form of sweat. Depending on the type, amount , duration, and environmental conditions you exercise in, the amount of sweat and thus water loss can vary greatly.
If you go into your exercise session hypohydrated or are not consuming enough fluids during exercise to attenuate dehydration then you can end the exercise session hypohydrated. Most research suggests that once you reach a certain amount of body water loss ( 1~2% body weight) athletic performance decrements start to occur. These decrements can include decrease in endurance, power, slowed reaction times, and fatigue.
If you want to prevent these things from occurring during your exercise sessions achieving and maintaining euhydration is important!
Now that we have discussed the importance of adequate hydration for exercise and performance, let’s discuss ways to stay hydrated while exercising this summer.
Having a reusable water bottle you carry with you throughout your day can be a visual reminder to drink water. Try to be mindful to drink from it throughout the day. This practice can help you to achieve a euhydrated state going into your exercise session.
Don’t forget to drink while you are exercising! Fluid intake after exercise is key for recovery and rehydration. Depending on the length, type of exercise, your personal sweat rate , and the environment you exercise in the type of fluid to best rehydrate you varies.
When exercising outside in hot humid environments like you will have in these summer months you will likely sweat more during your exercise sessions and lose more electrolytes due to the increase in sweat. In these conditions, consuming fluid after you exercise that has electrolytes (most importantly sodium) is helpful.
If you are also exercising for a long period of time in these conditions then fluids that contain carbohydrates in addition to electrolytes are important for recovery. Items like sports drinks can be very helpful in these situations. For more information on hydration click the link here!
Staying hydrated can be tricky for athletic individuals, especially in the summer. It is so important to be mindful of your fluid intake (and output) for overall health and optimal sports performance.
If you’re looking for a sports dietitian to help you optimize your performance and health through optimizing your fueling and hydration plan, we’re here to help. Check out our performance packages HERE.
Dunford, M., & Dolye, J.A. (2019). Nutrition for sport & exercise. Cengage Learning.