Exactly how much water should you be drinking on a daily basis? It's a relatively simple question, but the answer is complex.
The most commonly cited recommendation is at least 32 ounces per day. That may seem like a large amount, but it averages out to just four eight-ounce glasses. However, recent reports show that Americans can't even hit that number. A large part of the problem is that we often substitute caffeinated beverages, energy drinks and/or sports drinks for water. It's important to realize that these drinks do not count towards the baseline 32 ounces.
How can you as an athlete stay properly hydrated?
- Drink a glass of water for every caffeinated or sugary drink you consume.
- Hit the 32-ounce mark by bringing a water bottle with you wherever you go.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods have larger water content. Eating more of them allows you to rehydrate without drinking constantly.
Another crucial aspect of hydration for athletes is how to replenish fluids after training or competition. (See Hydration Facts Athletes Need to Know.)
Simple guidelines to remember
- Two hours before activity, consume 16 ounces of water.
- 10 to 20 minutes before a game or practice, drink an additional 8 ounces.
- Every 15 to 20 minutes during activity, drink a full 8 ounces.
- Following the competition, drink 16 to 24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost (weigh yourself prior if possible).
Although these guidelines do not constitute a customized hydration plan, following them will help you avoid becoming dehydrated. Staying hydrated is a simple step that can have a major impact on your performance.
More hydration resources
- Individualize Your Hydration Schedule
- Gametime Hydration Strategies
- Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance
- Too Much of a Good Thing: The Danger of Over-Hydration
- Time Your Fueling for Peak Performance
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock