Energy & Water Balance
By Sky Rajewski B.Sc.
Activity places added demands on the body's water resources. Therefore it is essential to keep up your supply. Since it is hard to tell subjectively whether or not you are meeting your body's water needs, use this list of Do's and Don'ts to help maintain fluid balance.
• Just to satisfy everyday needs make sure you drink about 2 L of water per day (8 - 10 medium sized glasses)
• Start drinking before you feel thirsty, because during activity the body can lose water in sweat faster than it can absorb it into the digestive system. Fifteen minutes before exercising, drink 250 - 375 mL water (more in hot weather)
• If your activity continues for longer than 15 minutes drink 125 mL every 15 minutes.
• Drink 250 mL additional water if you had caffeinated drinks within twelve hours of exercise.
• Use water to cool your skin during activity.
• Wear light, loose, breathable clothing in hot weather to help sweat evaporate. This is your cooling system, it is vital not to get overheated.
• After activity, replace the water you've lost. Cool water leaves the stomach faster and help the body cool down.
• Do not work out when it's very hot (35 C or over) Be careful when humidity is high as this prevents evaporation of sweat.
• Do not count on thirst as an accurate guide to your water needs. You will quench your thirst long before you replenish your body supply. A person who sweats 3 to 4 L can satisfy thirst with only 500 mL of fluid.
• Do not use drinks with high sugar or nutrient content during activity. These substances act like food, keeping water in the stomach for digestion and away from the muscles where it is needed to help convert energy. Cool water is the best fluid replacement drink.
• Do not continue to exercise if you experience symptoms of dehydration - faintness, weakness, headache, nausea.
• Do not mistake weight loss as sweat with permanent weight loss. Do not try to lose weight by not replacing water lost during activity.
• Do not wear rubberized clothing designed to increase sweating. It cannot help you lose weight, all is does is prevent sweat from evaporating and interfere with heat dissipation.
Sky has over 30 years of experience in the Health & Fitness Industry as an International Lecturer, Educator, Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Dancer and as a Hiking & Snowshoe Guide. In addition to writing two fitness books; "Strong To The Core" and "Safe & Effective Stretching Techniques", Sky has written fitness course manuals and Health & Fitness articles for various publications. Visit her website at http://www.adventureswithoutborders.com