Body Fluid Regulation during Fitness Training

The level of fluid in the body is critical to staying fit and in excellent condition. When you exercise, your internal temperature rises and this tells your system to excrete internal fluids to the outside through an elaborate sweat gland system and through increased respiration. The hot sweat dissipates, taking the heat with it. Sweat removes the heat and your body cools down.

Your health depends on this internal temperature control, but a risk is the loss of too much fluid, which can lead to serious problems. You can lose more than three quarts of body fluid each hour during increased physical activity, and performance decrease is directly related to fluid loss. In addition, the cardiovascular system is put under enormous stress when excess fluid loss occurs, leading to muscle cramps, lightheadedness, and in extreme cases, heat stroke.

Drinking sports drinks is recommended by fitness professionals as an excellent way of replacing water and electrolytes, like sodium and potassium. You should drink them before and after a workout, and even during one. The amount you consume depends on how much you sweat, your body type and your weight.

Here's an example: About two hours prior to starting your workout, drink approximately 18 ounces (0.53 liters). Fifteen minutes before your warm up, drink another 10 ounces (0.3 liters). Each hour during the workout, drink about 30 ounces (0.89 liters). Finally, after cooling down for a few minutes post-workout, drink 20 ounces (0.59 liters).

Avoid any drinks that contain caffeine when you are trying to replenish fluids you have lost. Caffeine is a natural diuretic. Never consume alcoholic beverages at least two hours prior to a strenuous workout. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and can interfere with the body’s cooling rate as the body goes through its cycle of temperature shifts.

To avoid putting back the calories you are trying to lose, stay away from the sports drinks with high concentrations of sugar. Sugar not only can put back calories, but cause an imbalance in cardiovascular function following a vigorous workout. The problem with even diet soft drinks is that the amount of carbon dioxide they contain can interfere with the body’s recovery.

You want to consume drinks that will replenish potassium and sodium, as well as replace magnesium, at a rate of around 100 mg per liter. Potassium and sodium help in the proper functioning of the heart and regulation of cellular electrical activity.

The body needs minerals, enzymes and vitamins. Isotonic drinks are created so that the body can maintain the proper levels of these important substances. Isotonic drinks are easily absorbed by the body, replacing fluids faster.

By properly regulating the fluid in your body before, during and after an exercise workout, you help maintain your overall health.