Hydration for Athletes: How to Stay Hydrated When Exercising

Updated on July 1, 2019

If you exercise a lot, it is important to stay hydrated. Click here to learn the best tips to stay hydrated when exercising.


When you’re exercising, one of the most common things you’ll hear trainers and coaches say is, “Hydrate! Make sure you hydrate!”

What does that actually mean? Your body survives off of water, and when you exercise, you can lose water through sweat and perspiration. That water needs to be replaced.

When you’re dehydrated, you lose a critical edge in performance. Just a 1-2% loss in fluids can have an impact on your cognitive abilities.

Are you ready to learn more about how you can stay hydrated? Read on to find out more about hydration for athletes and learn how you can beat the heat when you’re exercising.

How Much Water Do You Really Need?

There are a ton of myths around exercising and hydration. There is also a lot of misinformation out there about how much water you really need before you become dehydrated.

A general rule is to drink 4-6 cups of water a day. That’s assuming that you’re a healthy person that sits at a desk all day.

If you’re on medication or you exercise often, those numbers are thrown out the window. Your best bet is to check with your doctor to make sure you’re getting enough fluids throughout the day.

The Balance Between Salt and Water in Your Body

Why is hydration for athletes important? It comes down to a very simple thing. Your body needs it. It’s the same with sodium, which is an electrolyte. These two things need to be balanced in your body to maximize performance.

It is possible to drink too much water, which would be overhydration. That can do as much damage to your body as dehydration.

Ace Fitness has these guidelines to take fluid before, during, and after exercise.

About 2- 3 hours before exercise, consume about 17-20 ounces of water. When you’re 30 minutes from starting exercise, consume another 8 ounces.

During your exercise, consume 7-10 ounces every 20 to 30 minutes.

After exercise, have 8 ounces within 30 minutes and drink 16-24 ounces for every pound you lose during exercise.

Hydration for Athletes: 7 Pro Tips

As an athlete, how can you stay hydrated? Hydration for athletes will change according to the weather and how long you exercise.

If you need to get more fluids in your system, here are a few good ways to do it.

1. Set a Timer

As you can tell, a lot of the science behind staying hydrated depends on timing. You’ll want to set a timer for yourself to make sure that you drink water at regular intervals. This is a good solution if you’re going for a long walk or run.

2. Replenish Electrolytes

Replenishing the electrolytes in your body is another way you can stay hydrated during exercise.

You want to be careful about the type of electrolytes you use. Most of the “sports drinks” you see on the shelves are full of sugar. If you didn’t exercise that long, you’re probably defeating the purpose of exercising by consuming a bottle full of sugar.

Instead, reach for a drink that has electrolytes that you can make yourself, like the ones here that will help you stay hydrated.

3. Adjust Your Intake

There will be times when you exercise during hot humid days and cold winter days. In both cases, your body loses fluids during exercise. Yes, even in the winter, you’ll still sweat and lose fluids.

You’ll need to adjust your water intake accordingly or change the time when you exercise. In the middle of summer when heat and humidity are at their peaks, you’ll want to work out either earlier in the day or later in the evening.

4. Eat Hydrating Foods

Don’t forget that the food you eat contains water, too. Some foods contain more water than others, and it helps to know which ones have high water content.

One of the most obvious choices is watermelon. It’s not called watermelon because it doesn’t have high water content. It’s actually 92% water and has a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

Strawberries, cucumbers, peaches, lettuce, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and celery are among the many foods with a high water content that can be a part of your hydration routine.

5. Always Have a Water Bottle on You

One of the best hydration for athletes tips is to always have a water bottle on you. If you have water nearby, you’re more likely to drink it.

You can get into this habit by taking a water bottle with you to training or your workouts. You can also do this at your desk and drink water throughout the day. That will make it much easier to stay hydrated when it is time to exercise.

6. Add Flavor to Your Water

One common complaint about drinking water is that it doesn’t taste like anything, so you’re unlikely to drink it.

There are a number of things that you can do to add flavor to your water which will encourage you to drink more.

One thing you can do is to take a pitcher or a mason jar and throw a few peppermint tea bags in and fill it up with water. Stick it in the fridge for a few hours. You now have a cool, refreshing drink that will keep you hydrated all day.

You can do the same by cutting up lemons, limes, cucumbers, watermelon or anything else you can imagine to add flavor to your water.

There are also flavor drops you can buy at any grocery store to give your plain water a little pop.

7. Stay Away from Dehydrating Drinks

As much as there are foods and drinks that can keep you hydrated, there are also things that you should avoid if you want to maintain your performance levels.

Coffee and alcohol can make you dehydrated. It’s best to avoid them before exercising and if you do consume either one, drink more water to maintain your hydration levels.

It’s Easy for Athletes to Stay Hydrated

Whether you’re training for the Olympics or a weekend warrior, you want to maximize your performance.

To get the best performance, you need to follow a hydration for athletes plan. Even just a little decrease in fluid levels can impact your performance. With these tips, you can be sure that you’re at the top of your game.

Want more great health tips? Check back here regularly for health articles.

+ posts

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.