Water constitutes 55-60% of a person’s body weight and is the main constituent of blood, urine, and sweat. Water is an important carrier in the body as it distributes essential nutrients, including glucose, vitamins, and minerals, to cells. Water removes waste products and toxins through urine and feces. Water serves as an effective lubricant and moistens tissues such as those in the mouth, eyes, and nose.
Water also aids in regulating body temperature and allows the body to release heat with ambient temperature is higher than body temperature. Body temperature rises during exercise; therefore, a good fluid balance is of vital importance for an athlete. Fluid losses during exercise are dependent on:
duration of exercise
intensity of exercise
Drink 32 – 64 ounces of water a day at rest. During exercise, it is necessary to increase fluid intake to 24-32 ounces per hour. The exact amount depends on factors such as training intensity, temperature, and humidity.
Note: Thirst is a sign that the body has already lost too much water (2% of body weight). Athletes should learn to drink before they are thirsty to maintain a healthy fluid balance.
Adverse effects of dehydration
1 % sweat loss percentage of body weight = negative effect on metabolism
2 % sweat loss percentage of body weight = reduced thermoregulation, decreased endurance capacity
3 % sweat loss percentage of body weight = excessive decrease in endurance capacity
4-6 % sweat loss percentage of body weight = decrease in strength, excessive decrease in endurance capacity
>6 % sweat loss percentage of body weight = excessive dehydration, cramps, fatigue, loss of conscience, coma, death
Water is critical for life function. It is important to drink adequate amounts of water and remain hydrated every day as all major systems in your body depend on water.