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Get in the Hydration Habit

performance enhancers

By Sheila Tucker, MA, RD, LDN
Administrative Dietitian, B.C. Dining


Don't ignore the importance of fluids in gaining the competitive edge. Performance can be ruined, as well as health endangered, if dehydration is allowed to happen. Here are a few guidelines to help you get in the hydration habit.

  Drink 14-20 ounces cold water 10-15 minutes before competition.
  During exercise, drink 3-6 ounces cool fluid every 10-15 minutes. You may need more on hot or humid days.
  Weigh yourself before and after exercise. Drink 2 cups of water for every pound of weight lost to replenish fluid balance.
  Remember, thirst is a late indicator of dehydration. You may have already lost 0.5% of your body weight as fluid before you perceive this symptom.

 

Electrolytes

Avoid salt tablets when trying to replenish sodium lost in sweat. They can lead to dangerous overloading of sodium concentration in the blood ... fostering worsened fluid balance!
Moderately salting post competition meals with table salt can easily replace exercise losses of sodium (1/2 tsp. of table salt contains 1 gram sodium which is the amount of sodium lost in sweat with a two pound water loss).
Potassium losses can easily be replaced with citrus fruits, bananas or potato items. Many other fruits and vegetables also contain significant potassium and are good sources of needed carbohydrates, too.
Occasionally under severe training conditions, diluted electrolyte drinks may be necessary to replenish electolyte losses.