Proper hydration is essential for all individuals, but it is especially crucial for high-level
athletes. Athletes need to maintain proper fluid balance to regulate body temperature, transport
nutrients, and maintain optimal physical performance.
Drink about 16 to 24 ounces of water or a sports drink at least 4 hours before exercise.
Drink another 8 to 16 ounces of fluid 15 to 30 minutes before exercise. This gives your body
enough time to excrete excess fluids and achieve a balanced hydration status.
It's recommended that athletes drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes
during exercise. This amount can vary based on individual sweat rates, the intensity of the
exercise, and the environmental conditions. If exercising longer than an hour, consider a sports
drink that contains electrolytes to replace what's lost in sweat and carbohydrates to help fuel
Post-exercise hydration aims to correct fluid loss from sweat. Drinking about 16 to 24
ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise is often recommended.
After exercise, consume a drink that contains sodium, as this can aid in rehydration by retaining
more of the ingested water, stimulate thirst, and reduce urine losses.
Athletes should aim to consume water consistently throughout the day. A common
recommendation is to drink at least half of your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water. For
instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, aim for 100 ounces of water daily. Remember, the exact
amount can vary based on individual needs, the type of sport, intensity of training, and
environmental conditions. As for electrolytes, these are minerals such as sodium, potassium,
calcium, and magnesium that help maintain fluid balance, muscle contractions, and neural
activity. They are lost when you sweat, and need to be replaced, particularly during long bouts of
intense exercise or in hot conditions. This is where sports drinks and other electrolyte-rich
beverages or foods can be beneficial.
Keep in mind that over hydration can also be a problem, leading to a condition called
hyponatremia, where sodium levels in the body are dangerously low. Athletes should aim for a
balanced approach to fluid consumption and not just drink as much water as possible.
Finally, it's a good idea to monitor hydration status through urine color. Pale yellow like
lemonade is generally considered a sign of good hydration, while a darker color can be a sign of
Please note that these are general guidelines and individual hydration needs can vary
significantly. Athletes should consider working with a registered dietitian or sports nutritionist to
develop a personalized hydration plan.