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Can I prevent dehydration without drinking excess fluids?

Yes, you don’t need to drink in excess, you simply need to make sure you start your activity completely hydrated and replace what you use as you go through your activity and/or daily routine. For healthy sedentary adults living in temperate climates: Men: 125 oz (~3qts) of water per day from all dietary sources; Women: 91 oz (~2qts) of water per day from all dietary sources. ~20% of your fluid requirements will come from foods you eat. Below are for athletes and exercisers:
General Fluid Requirements
  • Fluids should be cold, palatable and selected based on the type and duration of the activity.  
  • Sports drinks should contain four to eight percent carbohydrate. Drinks greater than 10 percent carbohydrate may slow stomach emptying, cause abdominal cramping and impair performance.
  • Drinks with a combination of glucose, glucose polymers and fructose may enhance water absorption.
Pre-exercise Guidelines
  • Drink approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid two hours before activity.
  • On warm or humid days, drink an additional eight to 16 ounces 30 to 60 minutes before activity.
  • Water is adequate for activities less than an hour as long as meals are consumed regularly.
  • For endurance events, training sessions longer than 60 minutes, or multiple practices a day, choose a sport drink containing four to eight percent carbohydrate (e.g. Gatorade).
During Exercise
  • Depending on your sport, consume three to six fluid ounces of water or sports drink every 15 minutes.  This equates to approximately 32 ounces per hour.
  • For prolonged exercise greater than 60 minutes, choose a sports drink with small amounts of electrolytes.
Post-exercise Guidelines
  • Immediately following activity, drink at least 16 to 20 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight lost to ensure proper rehydration. Supervise your youth athletes to ensure they drink the entire amount of fluid you provide.
  • A liquid shake with high carbohydrate content, minimal protein and fat can refuel energy stores and maximize recovery after demanding training bouts. Consume this as soon as possible after workouts or events. The dotFIT FirstString™ Powder meets the NCAA guidelines and is ideal for youth and college athletes.
  • Drink an additional 16 ounces with your post workout meal. This meal should be consumed within two hours after activity.
  • Weigh yourself each morning.  A fairly stable weight generally indicates proper fluid balance.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.