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How To Avoid Dehydration When Playing Sports: A Concise Guide
(25 January 2021)


Sixty percent of your body is composed of water, and you lose some of it throughout the day through urine and sweat. While this is normal, failing to replenish it can lead to dehydration and result in a condition called hypohydration (fluid deficit).

But how much fluid do you really need to drink to prevent this?

While health experts usually recommend around half a gallon per day or eight eight-ounce glasses, some believe that you don’t need a sip if you’re not thirsty. It’s a matter of individual needs that can be affected by several internal and external factors, such as:

  • Your location
  • The current season or temperature
  • Your diet and health
  • Your physical activity

Plus, there’s also a matter of the right fluid to drink as water may not be enough to refill all that your body needs but has lost through sports activities. In these cases, you need to stock up on sports drinks from physical and online sports stores to ensure you’re ready to replenish lost electrolytes anytime.

Read this article to learn the most important things about proper fluid intake to protect yourself against dehydration.

Enough Water: How Much Is Enough?

When engaging in moderate to intense physical activities that can make you sweat, you must drink more than your usual water intake. There’s no clear-cut rule about this as you need to consider the humidity and temperature in the environment, your sweat rate, and the length and intensity of the activity.

Below is a basic guide to how much water you’ll need to drink from the beginning to the end of your sports training or exercise routine:

  • Two to three hours before the activity, consume 17 to 20 ounces of water.
  • Drink eight more ounces 20 to 30 minutes prior to the training or as you do your warm-up exercises.
  • Make sure that you maintain an intake of seven to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes of physical activity.
  • Finally, drink eight more ounces within 30 minutes after the end of your training.

Besides this, athletes should also know how to measure the amount of fluid they lose during training to determine how much water they must drink. Here is an easy way to compute your sweat rate:

  • Measure your weight before and after your training.
  • Calculate the difference in weight and add it to the amount of fluid you consumed during the activity.

The final number you come up with is your sweat rate. To stay hydrated, you need to drink the same amount of fluids as your sweat rate.

Drink More than Water

Although water is most essential, your body tends to lose other things when you sweat during a high-intensity sports activity that lasts for more than one hour. This is where sports drinks come in.

These hydration products contain carbohydrates, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and other nutrients that can help you get enough energy and electrolytes to last longer in training. You can also buy hydration drink tabs that are usually included in free delivery triathlon kits.

Below are the recommended situations when you should opt for sports drinks:

  • During intense workouts
  • When the training lasts longer than an hour
  • Excessive sweating
  • Training under extreme environmental conditions (e.g., high humidity and heat)

Know the Early Signs of Dehydration

Other things you need to be mindful of when engaging in sports activities are the early signs of dehydration. Basically, dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t get enough fluids to replenish what was lost during the activity.

Without enough fluids, the body cannot function properly. For this reason, you need to watch out for the early signs of dehydration, as listed below:

  • Thirst
  • Strong-smelling and dark yellow urine
  • Dry lips, mouth, and eyes (no tears)
  • Feeling tired

Stay Hydrated

The human body needs fluids to maintain optimal function. If you need your muscles to be at their peak during sports activities, you must ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the activity with the help of this guide.

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