Meeting Fluid Needs

Maintaining fluid balance is crucial to avoid dehydration (Chapter 2). Dehydration can limit performance and severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Tips for maintaining fluid balance include:

  • Monitor hydration status (Chapter 11 page 70).
  • Monitor fluid status by weighing yourself prior to and after prolonged physical activities. Drink 2 cups (0.45 L or 16 oz.) of water for every pound of body weight lost.
  • Thirst is not a good indicator of fluid status. Drink fluids regularly throughout the day. When working in the heat, do not drink more than 6 cups of fluid an hour.
  • When exercising or working for prolonged periods (>60 minutes), drink a fluid replacement beverage such as a sports drink instead of water (see Chapter 11, page 70).
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages; alcohol increases fluid losses.
  • Reduce caffeine consumption; caffeine increases fluid losses.
  • Avoid salty foods; salt increases fluid needs.

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