a risk when exercising. Many people do not consume enough fluids when they
exercise to balance the loss from sweating. Here are some guidelines for
Drink extra water before and after exercise. You
will also want to drink during exercise, especially if you exercise for longer
periods of time. Drink more than normal if the weather is hot, and make sure to
drink even when it's cold.
After exercise, drink enough water to
quench your thirst.
Before, during, and after exercise, avoid
beverages containing alcohol or caffeine. They lead to urine production, which
takes fluid out of your body when you need it most.
There is no
need to take a potassium or salt supplement. It is hard to lose too much
potassium or salt through sweating.
Some people prefer to use a commercial sports drink to
prevent dehydration. These drinks contain salt, potassium, and carbohydrates to
replace what you lose as you sweat. Use whichever liquid (water or a sports
drink) you prefer. You can make a drink similar to a sports drink by adding
1 tsp (5 g)
of salt to 1 gallon of
lemonade. Unless you exercise for extended periods, water is probably all you
The risk of dehydration is greatest when you are exercising
in heat and high humidity. If you regularly exercise in high heat or humidity,
your body will gradually get used to those conditions, but at very high
temperatures, anyone is at risk for heat-related problems such as dehydration,
heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
endurance athletes: If you are a distance runner or triathlete, there is a
chance you could overhydrate—get too much fluid in your body—during your
training or event. Overhydration (hyponatremia) can be caused by exercising
over a very long period of time, especially in hot or humid weather, and
drinking too much fluid. It can cause symptoms such as feeling bloated, sick to
your stomach, and confused. Although it is rare, overhydration is a medical
emergency when it happens. An athletic trainer or
sports nutritionist can help you learn ways to avoid overhydration.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.