A dehydrated swimmer


Dehydration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a new-to-me vocabulary: osmolality, which means measures of dehydration that trainers and coaches regularly check among their athletes along with gravity.

Ever heard of a dehydrated swimmer? A blind optometrist just whisked through. Samuel Taylor Coleridge too. “Water, water everywhere… and not a drop to drink.”

Swimming is a sport reported to be more likely to put athletes in danger of dehydration. Yes, the awareness exists: swimmers are in the midst of water or where else could they be. But I had that somewhat ironic how. Then the sense: swimmers can’t grab a sip while performing thus they are more at risk for dehydration than other athletes. Indeed!

Christine Gerbstadt, a registered dietician and anesthesiologist explains that “if an athlete’s event is an hour long or less, they shouldn’t drink water during the competition. If it’s more than an hour, the amount of water they should drink depends on the temperature, humidity and how much they actually perspire.” She also warns that ‘athletes should not go overboard on fluids.’ “It’s actually better to be under-hydrating than taking in too much fluid.”

A note from experts for non-athletes: you may not experience the same athletic demands for Olympians but here’s a tip for those who exercise. Weigh yourself before and after your workout. “The decrease in weight will represent the amount of lost fluid.” A pound lost needs to be replaced with 24 ounces of fluid if you want to perform well.

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