By Dr. Roanne Rouse Houck. Owner/Founder Acli-Mate Formulations, LLC
Optimal hydration is a key component to performance and recovery.
An athlete’s best defense against dehydration is prevention. It is best to hydrate before, during and after exercise. Water alone may not be enough. As the body sweats, sodium is lost. When too much sodium is lost, water intoxication or hyponatremia can result.
Hyponatremia is the term used to describe a drop in blood sodium concentration due to hydrating with water alone during vigorous exercise. Those at greatest risk of hyponatremia are distance athletes such as marathon runners, triathletes and distance cyclists consuming water without adequate sodium intake simultaneously.
The symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech and confusion. Athletes who drink more water after the onset of such symptoms may have the symptoms of hyponatremia worsen, potentially resulting in seizures, coma or even death.
To prevent dehydration and hyponatremia athletes should be well hydrated and consume salty snacks and sodium containing sport drinks before, during and after strenuous exercise. On an average day, an athlete should consume at least half their body weight in ounces of fluid, half of which should be a low sugar electrolyte replacement or 100% water plus high sodium foods such as salty pretzels, pickles and canned soups (unless contraindicated due to a medical condition such as hypertension). During exercise, athletes should try to drink around 1 cup of fluids every 20 minutes to stay well hydrated. Depending upon duration of exercise and pre-sport nutrient loading, an electrolyte replacement sport drink should also be consumed, especially in events lasting over 90 minutes. Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink is a perfect pre-event nutrient loading sport drink with multiple minerals including sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium. Best consumed three times daily in the days leading up to an athletic event along with additional fluids. Consume one full serving at least an hour before starting exercise.
Please be sure to consult your physician if you have any special health considerations or a history of any health problems. Ask your physician which sport drink is best to use if you are taking prescription medications.