Water, water, everywhere, but are you
Many people believe
that since swimmers exercise in water, they don’t
sweat. In a word, WRONG! Even immersed in the pool,
water loss can be significant. For every 1000 meters of
swimming (1100 yards) swimmers will lose 4-6 ounces of water
through sweating. This equals almost two pounds of water
weight loss for a 6000 meter workout.
believe it? Try weighing yourself before and after
practice. One pound of weight loss is equal to 16 ounces, or
one pint of water.
Why is this
so bad? Your body is made of a great number of
things, but 40-70% of your body is water! In the blood it
transports energy to working muscles and carries away waste
products. Water in urine eliminates waste products, and water
in the form of sweat allows the body to lose heat and keep
cool. Water is therefore essential to athletic performance
both in and out of the pool. Too little water leads to
dehydration with symptoms like headache and fatigue. Good
hydration is essential for a good race or practice.
about fluid replacement drinks such as Gatorade and
PowerAde? Research shows that water is ideal for
workouts lasting less than an hour. For longer workouts where
you burn more energy, the glucose (form of sugar) in the sport
drinks may keep muscles from becoming energy depleted. The
sweet taste of a sports drink may encourage swimmers to drink
more. Though small amounts of glucose and sodium (salt) do not
have a huge effect on how long it takes for liquid to be emptied
from the stomach, some sports drinks can cause fullness and
bloating since they stay in the stomach longer than pure
water. Carbonated beverages such as sodas and diet drinks also
stay in the stomach too long and offer no nutritional value.
Any drink containing caffeine will cause the kidneys to lose
too much water.
How do you
know if you are getting enough water?
- Check your
urine. If it is clear to pale yellow in color, you are
hydrated. If it is dark yellow or seems concentrated, you
should drink more water.
- Pre-hydrate. Drink
plenty of water in the two hours before the workout and 16 ounces
just prior to work-out.
- Drink before you are
thirsty, at least every 15 minutes during exercise. Thirst is
a signal that you waited too long to drink.
- Drink again after
you finish exercising. This will insure that you do not become