How to stay hydrated in athletics

September 3, 2019 Providence Nutrition Team

Whether you’re a gym fanatic, a weekend warrior, or a marathon master, you know that staying hydrated is key when working out. Why? As part of our Pick of the Week series focused on student athletes, we explore the reasons and give some recommendations for staying hydrated before, during, and after your athletic endeavors.

Hear what Dr. Byron Patterson, Medical Director, Providence Southern California Sports Care Program, has to say in this video.

Good hydration habits can help you optimize success both on and off the field. It’s extremely important in to your thermoregulatory process that allows your body to maintain its core internal temperature. A healthy internal body temperature falls within a narrow range and keeping it there can be tricky when you’re working out because you lose water and electrolytes through sweat. It’s important to replenish by hydrating so that you can work out longer and recover more quickly when you’re at rest.

Here are some tips and recommendations for athletes to stay hydrated:

  1. Athletes require at least 6L (25-8 oz. cups) of water a day.
  2. Proper hydration begins 24 hours before the event. This includes 2-3 – 8 oz. cups of fluid one to two hours before the activity and 1-2 – 8 oz. cups of fluid 15 minutes before the activity.
  3. Limit or avoid caffeinated drinks like colas, coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Why? Caffeine can act as a diuretic, meaning it will cause your body to lose water. Some research has shown for every cup of a caffeinated beverage that’s consumed, we need to drink up to three times as much water to offset the water lost with that one cup.
  4. During competition, continuing to drink water and sports drinks equally will help you to stay hydrated and maintain electrolyte levels for normal muscular and nerve function. Try drinking half of an 8 oz. cup every 15 minutes during the competition.
  5. Even though high temperatures can cause you to sweat more, you need to rehydrate during cooler temperatures as well.
  6. Rehydrating doesn’t stop after the event – it’s necessary for 24-48 hours post-activity, so keep drinking!

One pearl of wisdom to keep in mind: if your urine is clear to light yellow, you’re doing a great job with your hydration!

Find a doctor

Our team of nutritional experts are here to help you understand the benefits of staying hydrated. Search for a doctor in our regional directory or find a location near you:

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Resources

4 ways to stay hydrated this summer

5 ways to reduce bloating

Exercise and heart health series: CrossFit

Exercise and heart health series: Endurance exercise

Walking vs. Exercise trends: They both win for women

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

We are all about food! The Providence Nutrition Team loves to talk about and share our expertise on how to help you find the right diet, food types and maintenance tactics to help you live life to the fullest...while also enjoying the best foods that mother nature has to offer.

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