Fluid intake during exercise is important not only for better maintenance of exercise and performance, but aids in the slowing of exercise-induced rise in heart rate and temperature. This means that blood flow to the skin in improved or maintained. However, not all athletes and exercise modes are the same for the fluid requirements. When it comes to competitions, here are some general guidelines depending on your sport and event.
- Events less than 30 minutes: this includes sprints, jumping, throwing, gymnastics, etc. Fluids should be consumed between events but not within 15 minutes of the event. Fluid and carbohydrate replenishment is not needed during the event, but again in between events throughout the course of the competition is important.
- Events between 30-60 minutes: Events such as a 10k run, rowing, aerobics class, tennis lesson, track cycling, etc. Fluids should be consumed between events and runners should consume some fluid at least every 3 miles. Fluids should be consumed before, during, and after events with carbohydrates consumed before and after. Carbohydrates will aid fluid uptake during the event, so beverages with carbohydrates (i.e. Gatorade) would be beneficial.
- Endurance events: marathon, 80 km cycling, olympic-distance triathlon, or Tennis (5 sets). Marathon runners should consume fluids at least every 3 miles, triathletes every 6 miles, and cyclists every 1-2.5 miles. Tennis players should take time during court changes and after 3rd set to take in fluids. Along with fluids, electrolyte and carbohydrate replesion is recommended during these events.
- Ultra Endurance events: Ironman, English Channel swim, road cycling, cycling stage races. Fluids should be consumed at every opportunity at least once every 10 minutes. Fluid with electrolytes and carbohydrates is also recommended during the events in varying amounts depending on environmental conditions, individuals glycogen stores, and exercise intensity.
- Team sports lasting around 90 min: Hockey, basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, soccer…Fluids should be consumed at breaks, but no less that every 15 minutes. Ideally, once every 10 minutes. Halftimes, innings, and breaks between quarters are important opportunities to replenish fluids as well as electrolytes and carbohydrates.
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