Body Fluids and Exercise
Body fluid level is an important component of keeping it in
top condition for best performance.
As a person exercises, the internal body temperature rises.
That triggers the body to release internal fluid to the outside
through millions of sweat glands and via heightened
respiration. As the high temperature sweat evaporates off the
skin, it takes heat with it, cooling the body down again.
That internal temperature regulatory system is vital to
health, but losing too much fluid can also produce problems.
High activity can cause a person to lose three quarts or more
of fluid per hour. As the amount of fluid lost increases,
Excessive fluid loss strains the cardiovascular system as
well, which can lead to dizziness, muscle cramps and even heat
stroke, in extreme cases.
Professional guidelines recommend regular replacement of
both water and electrolytes (sodium, potassium and others) by
drinking a sports drink before, during and after a workout. The
right amount will vary with body weight and type, tendency to
sweat, external temperature and other variables, but here are
some rough figures.
Drink about 18oz (0.53 liter) a couple of hours before
beginning your workout, then another 10oz (0.3 liter) about 15
minutes before starting your warm-up. Drink at least 30oz (0.89
liter) every hour you work out, then - after a cool-down period
of a few minutes - another 20oz (0.59 liter) after the
Caffeine-containing drinks should be avoided when
re-hydrating since they have a diuretic effect. Consuming
alcohol, too, is a bad idea for at least a couple of hours
after a strenuous workout. Apart from the high amount of
calories most alcoholic drinks contain, the alcohol can disrupt
the smooth rate of cool-down as the body temperature
Beware of sports drinks that have high amounts of sugar. You
don't want to put back all those calories you worked hard to
burn, and too much sugar can unbalance cardiovascular
regulation after vigorous exercise. That means, go easy on both
soft drinks and concentrated fruit juices. Even diet soft
drinks have excessive carbon dioxide, which is less than ideal
for best recovery.
Look for drinks that replace magnesium (~100 mg per liter),
as well as sodium and potassium. Both sodium and potassium are
essential elements for proper heart function. They help
regulate cellular electrical activity.
Isotonic drinks are designed to closely match the body's
natural concentrations of needed minerals, vitamins and
enzymes. That makes them easier to absorb and excellent
Maintain overall health, avoid medical problems and maintain
peak performance by proper fluid regulation.