Starting exercise in a well-hydrated state is important for overall performance. If you make sure you consume fluids regularly throughout the day, this can make a real difference.
Many factors can influence your ideal fluid intake: your individual sweat rate; duration and intensity of exercise; environmental conditions. Monitor your losses by weighing yourself immediately before and after exercise. If you’re losing 2% of your body mass or more, this is an indicator that you need to drink more.1 Drink larger volumes of fluid early in exercise and continue to ingest fluid throughout (little and often: ~ 150 ml every 10-15 min).1
After exercise, you need to replace both the fluids and sodium lost in sweat. Water is not the ideal way to hydrate yourself post-exercise, as it stimulates high urine flow and reduces thirst. If you need to restore your fluid balance, a drink containing sodium – the primary mineral lost in sweat – will help the retention of ingested fluids and stimulate your thirst. Consume 1.5 litres (L) of fluid for each kg of body mass lost as sweat.1 Consume the fluid over time as opposed to all at once. Isotonic sports drinks are popular options.
- 1Sawka MN, Burke LM, Eichner ER, Maughan RJ, Montain SJ, Stachenfeld NS. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand: Exercise and Fluid Replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007; 39(2): 377-390.
This information is not medical advice and should not replace consultation with your health care provider or nutritionist before starting a new exercise program or eating plan.