Monitoring Hydration for Safety and Performance

“The ideal goal during activity, is to remain hydrated and avoid losing more than 2% of body mass.”

It’s no secret that hydration plays an important role in our daily lives, but how exactly does it affect us? What happens when we aren’t properly hydrated?

There are several benefits to an ideal hydration status, including maintaining athletic performance and mood, maximizing the transfer of metabolic heat, and aiding in recovery from physical activity. It’s important to note, that hydration intake and replenishment is extremely individualized. The information listed below should provide guidance in helping you determine where you are at in your current hydration intake/replenishment strategies!

Assessing Hydration Status

It can be difficult to accurately assess hydration status, however there are a few measurement techniques that can be used to gauge a better understanding of your hydration status.

Thirst: When we get thirsty, our body is telling us we need fluids. Therefore, you can use your thirst as a technique to assess your hydration before, during, and after activity.

Body Mass: Ideally, we want to avoid losing more than 2% of body mass during activity. When using body mass as a technique, it is best used during short-term changes. For example, this technique should be used before and after a long run versus measuring 7 days apart.

Urine Color: Assessing your hydration status with your urine color is a popular technique. By comparing to a urine color chart, you should be able to gather a good understanding of your hydration status. One consideration that must be made is that our urine does become diluted with water, which can alter its accuracy.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

Aside from assessing hydration status, it is important to be aware of the common signs and symptoms of dehydration in case it arises

  • Thirst
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Chills

The Role of Hydration in Phases of Activity

Hydration Before to Activity

It’s crucial to always begin physical activity properly hydrated. Using the techniques to assess hydration status will allow you to gain an idea of where your hydration status is prior to beginning activity. This will ultimately increase safety and performance overall.

Rehydration During Activity 

The ideal goal during activity, is to remain hydrated and avoid losing more than 2% of body mass. Another aspect that should be considered is extreme changes in electrolyte balances. Depending on the type of activity being performed, consuming fluids consisting of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes may be beneficial.

Rehydration After Activity

Not only is it important to replenish fluids before and during exercise, but also after activity. By replenishing fluids following activity, you will improve your recovery and also aid in decreasing fatigue. In addition to replenishing fluids, the appropriate intake of foods is a vital component to the recovery aspect of training.

Additional Hydration Considerations

  • Environment (indoors, outdoors, hot, cold, altitudes)
  • Activity Duration
  • Activity Intensity
  • Personal Sweat Rate

Aside from performance and recovery, one area that we must touch base on is safety. Typically, during exercise, as we reach a dehydrated status, our bodies will produce less sweat, and our core body temperature will begin to rise. When this happens, we become at risk for heat related illnesses, which is something we want to avoid! Luckily, COROS watches now pair with CORE body temperature sensors, which allows us to gather data directly to our watches. This pairing allows us to provide a safer training and competition environment for our COROS community! 

CORE body temperature during a workout

In reality, hydration is a large topic, and one blog post only scratches the surface of the information. For now, we encourage you to start paying attention to your fluid intake and replenishment and try out a few of the techniques to best gauge your hydration status. Don’t forget to pair your COROS watch with the CORE body temperature sensor to enhance your safety and performance!

Michelle Singleton

Michelle has a diverse background in the exercise and sport science world. She is a certified and licensed athletic trainer, personal trainer, and educator. She utilizes her extensive education in athletic training, nutrition, and exercise science to help guide and educate others.

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