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Whether you are training over a prolonged period or playing hard during a competition, hydration can keep you at peak performance and help you avoid serious health risks.
Dehydration in athletes can lead to decreased coordination, fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps. Your hydration can have acute and chronic effects on your overall health, and dehydration during activity can affect your physical and mental performance and put you at risk for injury.
It’s important for athletes to pay attention to how much water they’re drinking before, during, and after exercise. Follow these guidelines to decrease your risk of dehydration and related problems while keeping active:
- For a longer run or workout, make sure you’re well hydrated during the days leading up to the workout.
- Also be sure to hydrate properly right before any workout to help reduce your chances of dehydration following the workout.
- Drink at least 16 ounces of water an hour before beginning a workout. Then, during the workout, only drink when thirsty.
- Doctors suggest consuming 4 – 6 ounces of water every 20 minutes during a workout.
- In a longer or more intense workout, some of your fluid intake could include a sports drink, which can help replace minerals lost during the workout.