Endurance Athlete Hydration

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Hydration for endurance athletes

We’ve all heard that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day, but how much should you drink if you are exercising? Better yet, how much should an endurance athlete drink? First, let’s define what an endurance athlete is. Athletes that compete in 100 miles of running (ultra-marathons), or 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running such as Ironman, or perhaps the Boston marathon are all considered endurance events. Some say that an endurance athlete is simply someone who needs to consume food before the duration of the event, while others will say it’s an athlete who competes or trains over 2 hours. Nevertheless, endurance can be defined as the ability to withstand stress over prolonged periods of time.
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The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations for sodium levels (340 mg) represent the amount of sodium in less than ⅛ teaspoon of salt and for athletes to ingest the recommended guidelines for sodium ingestion during exercise (300-600 mg per hour or 1.7-2.9 grams of salt during extended exercise sessions). (Kreider, et al., 2010). To ensure proper hydration, athletes should not depend upon thirst to indicate the need to drink, because people don’t usually get thirsty until they have already lost a significant amount of fluid due to sweating. Athletes should get in the habit of weighing themselves before and after exercise as a way to manage their hydration to determine their sweat rate. Many factors determine sweat response to exercise such as temperature, humidity, exercise intensity, duration of exercise, genetics and diet (Sawka et al, 2007). A normal sweat rate range would be 0.5-2.0L/h depending on the athlete (Kreider et al., 2010). The athlete should consume 3 cups of water for every pound lost during exercise, and try to consume 6-8 oz. of water or sports drink every 5 to 15-minutes during…show more content…
I have become dehydrated more times than I care to admit, and it can be very unpleasant not to mention very scary. According to Gil and colleagues, lower gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as diarrhea, urgency, the need to stop for a bowel movement, rectal incontinence, rectal bleeding and abdominal cramps, are more common than upper symptoms (heartburn, reflux and nausea). Most of my races are in the desert, thus racing in the heat is unavoidable with some temperatures as high as 110 degrees on race day. Another reason is that I have had multiple mini strokes and my neurologist warned me that dehydration as that would put me at risk for another stroke. Following the same protocol on each race is tricky, as factors are constantly changing, therefore what works for one race, doesn’t necessarily work for the next race. It’s important to use multiple markers to determine hydration status. Using weight loss, urine color, and thirst as indicators, can assist in hydration practices. Symptoms of dehydration include: dizziness, dry mouth, confusion, fatigue, dark colored urine, and less frequent urination. Preventing dehydration during exercise is one of the best ways to maintain athletic performance and should be considered the number one priority (Kreider et al.,

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