Sports-Related Dehydration - Adventist HealthCare

Sports-Related Dehydration

Topic Overview

Most people lose as much as1 qt (1 L) to2 qt (2 L) of fluid during 1 hour of exercise. When you are not drinking enough fluids, your muscles get tired quickly, and you may have leg cramps while walking or running.

If you are an athlete, you can lose as much as3 qt (3 L) of fluid an hour during an intense workout. Fluid loss in endurance activities such as distance running, cycling, strenuous hiking, or cross-country skiing can be severe. These types of activities can quickly lead to heat exhaustion.

In endurance athletes, dehydration can cause symptoms, called post-extreme endurance syndrome (PEES). Symptoms of PEES include decreased body temperature, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, and an inability to drink fluids.

Distance runners and other endurance athletes are not the only ones to have problems with dehydration. Football, basketball, and hockey players all may lose large amounts of fluid during a game. High school and college wrestlers often decrease their fluid intake and promote excessive sweating before a match in order to "make weight."

To protect yourself from dehydration:

  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Take water with you when you exercise.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks, which increase dehydration and make it hard to make good decisions.
  • Do not take salt tablets. Most people get plenty of salt in their diets. If you are worried about replacing minerals lost through sweating, use a sports drink.
  • Stop working outdoors or exercising if you become dizzy or lightheaded or you feel very tired.

It is important to protect yourself from dehydration in extremely hot or dry weather and at high elevations. Exercise early in the day or later in the evening when it is cooler.

Credits

Current as ofSeptember 23, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.