Hydration and Fluid Requirements for Athletes

Fluids in the body have numerous functions and are essential to well being and life. Fluids from blood, aid digestion and prevent the body from overheating. For an Athlete, excessive sweating in an everyday occurrence which must be followed by the replenishment of lost water to stop the body from overheating. When sweat evaporates from the skin, it cools down the body and regulates the body temperature. If the athlete has not drunk enough water, the body will begin to overheat leading to low performance and even dangerous consequences. The amount of sweating differs from person to person and can also be influenced by external factors like temperature, humidity, altitude and clothing.

An Athlete must be well aware of the benefits of drinking adequate water, and how the amount of water in the body can affect the body’s functioning. A well hydrated athlete will perform better and avoid the dangers associated with dehydration. Hydration has an important function of cooling down the body. As an Athlete, you must know the importance of drinking enough water by making it a daily routine. Keep in mind that drinks with caffeine act as a diuretic and work against hydration. A cup of coffee contains 1.5 micrograms of caffeine. Alcohol consumption has the effect of heating up the body, and again has the opposite effect of hydration.

Avoid dehydration

Dehydration is caused due to the lack of adequate water consumption. The first signs of dehydration are lack of energy, which could cause headaches, dizziness and disorientation. The proper manner to hydrate the body is to replenish the water while it is being lost. There is no benefit in replenishing the body’s fluids after the training session, as it could lead to dehydration and loss of performance. The following chart shows how the body is affected through increasing levels of dehydration.

  • 1-2% - Thirst and weakness
  • 3-4%- low performance, dry mouth.
  • 5-6% - Increased body temperature, headache , irritability.
  • 7-10% - Dizziness, disorientation, heat stroke and even death.

The right way to drink water

Water intake should be properly planned before the exercises, during the exercise and after exercise.

Before the training event- Consume 14-18 ounces of water 2 hours before the exercise. The 2 hour gap is enough to fully hydrate and leave enough time for the excess water to come out of your system. Plain water is the best source of hydration. Take 5-7 ounces of water just 15 min before the exercise to be fully hydrated before physical activity.

During the exercise- The athlete must constantly keep hydrating the body every 20-25 minutes with 5-10 ounces of water. Sports drinks are also a good idea during exercise as they help to replenish the sodium lost through perspiration.

After the exercise- The athlete should be encouraged to replace all the lost fluid by consuming approximately 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost.


You should drink enough H20 to urinate at least 4 times day!!!