How much should you drink?
Fluid requirements change dramatically between individuals and sports. Fluid losses can be affected by the following:
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- Genetics – Some people are genetically heavier sweaters
- Body size – Larger people tend to sweat more than their smaller counterparts
- Fitness – Fitter people are known to sweat more earlier on during exercise
- Environment – Sweat losses are higher in hotter conditions
- Exercise intensity – Sweat losses increase as the intensity of exercise increases
There is no single recommendation to meet the needs of all athletes. The best way to know how much you should drink is by weighing yourself before and after exercise to get an estimate of fluid lost. Alternatively by looking at a urine colour chart you can see how hydrated you are and work out whether you are drinking enough fluids.
It is important that you spread out your hydration during the day instead of trying to tolerate much larger volumes at one time. Most people can tolerate around 200-300ml every 15-20minutes, however this can vary depending on the intensity of exercise.
What should you drink?
Research has shown that fluid intake in improved when drinks are cold, flavoured and contain sodium. This is why sports drinks can be a good choice depending on your sport.
It has been shown that the intake of carbohydrate and fluid is beneficial for higher intensity exercise lasting over 60minutes.
Water is a very good option during exercise lasting under about 60minutes. It is important to note that water does not stimulate fluid intake to the same extent as sports drinks.
It should also be noted that you shouldn’t rely on thirst to know when to drink. It is much more effective if you stick to a hydration plan.
Can you drink too much?
Yes. Drinking in excess can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. In extreme cases it can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels). It causes symptoms which are similar to dehydration and is also potentially life threatening.
It is quite rare but can occur in endurance events (over 2hours) when a large volume of low sodium drinks, such as water, are consumed along with low sweat losses.
By matching your fluid intake to sweat losses and drinking fluids containing sodium such as sports drinks lowers the risk of hyponatraemia.
To get more information regarding your personal hydration Contact Craig. to help achieve your goals