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New Hydration Guidelines
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
You've probably heard again and again the advice to drink eight glasses of fluid a day. You've also probably been told that caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and tea, do not contribute to the total. A university study conducted in 2000 found no significant difference in the hydration effect of various types of beverages, including those containing caffeine, such as coffee and cola. It's also commonly believed that caffeinated beverages are dehydrating. However, caffeine has only a temporary diuretic effect, and teas, colas, and coffee DO contribute to total water intake.
New guidelines from the Institute of Medicine emphasize letting thirst be your guide to fluid intake. This is especially true for those intentially consuming fluids while participating in long duration sports and activities, such as half-marathons or marathons. In an effort to prevent dehydration, many participants force themselves to drink fluids too frequently. This can result in a condition known as hyponatremia.
While it is important to avoid overhydrating during sporting events, it is also important for peak performance to avoid becoming dehydrated. Drink when you're thirsty. During hot months, avoid exercise outdoors during mid-day. Wear light clothing that breathes and has fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin. For activities lasting more than an hour, consider consuming sports drinks in addition to plain water.More Information: