Hydration for Sports Guidelines

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Dehydration (water deficit in excess of 2% to 3% body mass) decreases exercise performance; thus, optimal fluid intake before, during, and after exercise is important for health and optimal athletic performance.

Frequently drinking water and/or a sports beverage during exercise is one of the most effective ergogenic aids due to its ability to support thermoregulation and reduce cardiovascular strain during prolonged bouts of exercise, particularly when completed in hot and humid conditions [162516].

The adequate daily recommendation from the U.S. National Academies of  Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

  • Drink 16 oz. to 24 ounces 2 hours before activity.
  • Drink another 8 to 16 oz. 15 to 30 minutes before activity.
  • Drink 6 to 12 oz. every 15 minutes during exercise.
  • Drink 24 oz. for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
  • In events lasting longer than ninety minutes, performance will likely be enhanced with the use of a sports drink.

If you want to calculate fluid loss during exercise, weigh immediately before you exercise and again immediately after exercise. Drink 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight lost.

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