Dehydration Alert

As you exercise, be alert for conditions that increase your fluid loss through sweat. With more perspiration, your body dehydrates faster.

  • Temperature. The higher the temperature, the greater your sweat losses.
  • Intensity. The harder you work out, the greater your sweat losses.
  • Body size. The larger the athlete, the greater the sweat losses. Males generally sweat more than females.
  • Duration. The longer the workout, the greater your fluid losses.
  • Fitness. Well-trained athletes sweat more, starting to sweat at a lower body temperature. Why? Sweating cools the body. The well-trained athlete cools his or her body more efficiently than an untrained person.

Source: Debbi Sowell Jennings and Suzanne Nelson Steen, Play Hard, Eat Right (Minneapolis: American Dietetic Association, Chron-imed Publishing, 1995).

  • The amount of energy for sports depends partly on your body composition, body weight, and level of fitness. Body size (consider a male football player and a female gymnast) also makes a big difference. When two people ski together at the same intensity, the person weighing more likely burns more calories.
  • The harder, the longer, and the more often you work out, the more energy required for muscle work. Any activity such as cycling, power walking, or swimming is a bigger energy burner if done more vigorously.
  • Not surprisingly, some sports burn more energy than others. That's simply because they're more intense or their duration is longer. Both a golf game and downhill skiing may last several hours. But skiing uses more energy since it's more physically demanding for larger muscle groups.

Carbohydrates supply energy for activities that take high-intensity, short bursts of energy, and both carbohydrates and fats supply energy for longer activity.

For the energy costs of several sports, see chapter 2. To estimate your energy needs, see "Your 'Weigh': Figuring Your Energy Needs" in chapter 2. Or have a registered dietitian (RD) help you.

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