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Wheeling Walks Challenge: Week #5

Practical Recommendations for Fluid Replacement

Don't rely on thirst. Drink before, during and after any physical activity. Get into the habit of taking on fluids during training as well as competition.

If the exercise lasts for less than an hour the body should have sufficient electrolyte and carbohydrate supplies to maintain optimal performance. Therefore, for short periods of exercise water is just as good as sports drink.

If exercise lasts for over an hour a drink with electrolytes and carbohydrates will aid performance by supplying additional energy.

Contrary to popular opinion a relatively small amount of sweat is salt (0.2 to 0.4%) therefore unless the climate is extremely hot or the activity is over an hour in duration additional salt should not be needed.

Always try to drink more fluids than you need. A smaller quantity at frequent intervals helps optimize hydration.

The World Health Organization recommends drinking 6 to 8 large glasses of water a day. But it must be remembered that this is only to maintain normal fluid balance and does not take into account the extra fluid demands of exercise. Drink at least half a liter of water before exercise to ensure your fluid levels are up to start and then continue taking in as much as you can during exercise.

Finally, as a fitness professional a key role for you will be to educate and motivate your clients to adopt 'good hydration practices'.

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