How to Stay Hydrated
Athletes need water. Maintaining optimal hydration is important for promoting peak performance and preventing injury. Dehydration, defined as body weight loss of 1 percent or more because of fluid loss, can result in many symptoms, some of which are quite dangerous. These range from headache, fatigue, heat intolerance, and dark urine with a strong odor to more serious effects, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Maintaining adequate hydration can easily prevent these problems. Fluid needs increase with exercise, especially at high altitudes or when humidity is low or temperatures are high.
The following guidelines, endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine, can help you stay hydrated:
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Beverages containing caffeine, such as sodas, tea, and coffee, and those containing alcohol, such as wine, beer, or spirits, cause you to lose water. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics. Therefore, beverages containing these substances should not be counted toward your daily fluid intake.