LHI Tip of the Week- When and How to Hydrate: Sports Dietitian Jennifer DeWall Shares Tips and Guidelines

It’s late July,  and as the tempuratures rise we need to pay more attention to our hydration status.  This is especially important during exercise and sports related activities, so that we don’t become dangerously overheated and dehydrated.  Choosing what to drink and when is sometimes a difficult decision with all the choices of beverages available.  As a youth softball coach, I often see the overuse of sport-type beverages when water would be a more appropiate choice.  According to the American jenndewallAcademy of Pediatrics, sports drinks are beneficial in both adults and youth althletes when used to replenish carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluids after endurance or high-intensity exercise. Water is recommended for the average athlete that is involved in regular activity. It is also important to know when to re-hydrate because when you feel thirsty it may be too late. Sports Dietitian and owner of Nutrition in Motion, Jennifer DeWall, has had the opportunity to council a wide variety of athletes and recommends the following guidelines when it comes to being properly hydrated before, during and after physical activity.

Hydration Guidelines

2 hours before: 14-22 oz.
10-20 minutes before: 7-10 oz.
Note: this can be a sports beverage if exercising on an empty stomach

During Exercise
6-12 oz. every 15 min. or as tolerated
1+ hour exercise add in sports beverage
Note: in extreme conditions, sports beverages or other electrolyte sources may be needed sooner.
Post Exercise
24 oz for every pound lost
Low-fat chocolate milk, water, sports drink

General Tips:
• Make sure you are drinking half your weight in ounces of water daily. Add in at least 10% if exercising. For example, a 140 pound athlete needs 70 ounces of water daily minimum.
• An easy way to judge general hydration status is by urine color. Light, straw colored urine is optimal. Anything darker may indicate your body is already dehydrated which may impair performance.

Prepared by Jennifer DeWall RDN, CSSD, LD – Sports Dietitian


About Iowa Sports Foundation

The Iowa Sports Foundation mission is to provide sports, recreation, health and wellness opportunities for Iowans of all abilities.
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