Arguably the most important sports nutrient, water is vitalto regulate body temperature, maintain blood volume and normal muscle function.In fact, studies show that losing just two per cent of body weight in fluid cancause a 10 to 20 per cent drop in aerobic capacity. “Often people think thereason they feel terrible after exercising is because they’re unfit, but it’sbecause dehydration makes exercise feel harder,” says Daniela Manche, spokesperson for Sports Dietitians Australia. Maintain yourfluid balance with these tips:
* Make sure you’re hydrated going into a workout. Drink aglass of water with every meal and snack and have one immediately beforeexercising.
* Plan to replace fluid deficits. Calculate your sweat rateby weighing yourself before and after exercise. Aim to replace 80 per cent ofyour fluid loss during exercise – for example, if your sweat rate is 500ml anhour, sip 400ml of water. After your workout, you need to replace your sweatdeficit by 150 per cent. So, if your sweat rate is 500ml, drink 1.5L water overthe next few hours.
* Use sports drinks selectively. If you’re doing 60 to 90minutes or more of fairly intense exercise, sports drinks can be an effectiveway to rehydrate, replace electrolytes and fuel your muscles. Stick to water ifyou’re watching your weight or your exercise is of moderate intensity.
For expert advice, find a qualified sports dietitian atwww.sportsdietitians.com.au