A picture of one of the world’s most important resources, Water
So now that summer is here, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about hydration. As a firefighter, I don’t have the option to take it easy when it is 100 degrees outside. One thing that is always on my mind on these hot days is hydration and as fitness oriented gamers, it should be on yours too. During exercise the human body can lose from 8-16 ounces of water per hour, depending on intensity level. During firefighting operations, firefighters can lose 50 ounces in as little as 30 to 45 minutes so, as you can imagine, usually the first thing we do after coming out of a building fire is to drink a couple of bottles of water.
So what can we do to prevent becoming dehydrated? First let’s look at some of the signs and symptoms of mild dehydration:
- Decreased urine output
- Darker colored urine (Multi-vitamin use can affect color)
Remember that if you have some of these symptoms, you already are dehydrated and should drink some water.
So how can we prevent becoming dehydrated? Here is a list of tips that we use in the firehouse. They are taken directly from a 2011 article on Firefighternation.com.
Prior to Fireground Operations (or exercise)
- Drink at least 16 oz. of water an hour before operations/exercise to ensure your fluid levels are up to par. If you’re dehydrated prior to exercise, try to consume 32 oz. of water.
- Drink 8–10 fl. oz. 10–15 minutes.
During Fireground Operations (or exercise)
- Drink cool (40 degrees F), dilute fluids at a minimum rate of at least 8 oz. every 15 minutes or 34 oz. per hour. Those who are dehydrated must drink 8 oz. every 10 minutes or 50 oz. per hour.
- Drink 8–10 oz. every 10–15 minutes.
- If exercising longer than 90 minutes, drink 8–10 oz. of a sports drink (with no more than 8% carbohydrate) every 15–30 minutes.
After Fireground Operations (or exercise)
- If the exercise (fireground activity) 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 drinks.
- If exercise (fireground activity) lasts for more than an hour, use a sports drink with electrolytes and carbohydrates along with water to rehydrate the body.
- Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses, drink 20–24 oz. of water for every pound lost.
- If no water was consumed during exercise (fireground operations), aggressively rehydrate at a rate of 16 oz. of fluid every 15–20 minutes.
While these tips are aimed at firefighters, I think they can apply to anyone who is planning to exercise during a hot day.
Stay safe, stay healthy, drink your water, and Remember Reach!
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