SAN DIEGO (April 30, 2003) � A new study released
today suggests that nearly half of all exercisers are starting their
workouts at a real disadvantage � by arriving at the gym already dehydrated
even though many mistakenly believe they are drinking enough.
Even minor dehydration can have a major effect on your workout. According
to research, as little as two percent dehydration can affect workouts
by dropping an exercisers� endurance
and causing workouts to feel
�When exercisers arrive at the gym dehydrated, it�s a challenge for
them to catch up on their fluid intake, and their workout undoubtedly
suffers,� says Dixie Stanforth, M.S., Kinesiology lecturer at The
University of Texas, spokesperson for IDEA Health & Fitness Association
and contributing editor to SHAPE magazine.
One possibility for the surprisingly high percentage of exercisers
that may be dehydrated could be due to the fact that nearly half of
them indicate �it�s a struggle to drink enough� before, during and
after working out.
Experts say what exercisers choose to drink can affect the amount
they�re able to drink and ultimately, their ability to stay well hydrated.
Research has shown that when drinking plain water during activity,
exercisers only replace about 50% of what they lose in sweat
insult to injury when it comes to achieving an optimal workout. Research
also shows that people will drink more of a lightly flavored beverage
than they will of plain water
increasing the likelihood that they�ll
consume the amount of fluids they need for proper hydration.
�I tell my clients, especially those that have a tough time drinking
enough plain water, that one of the best ways to conquer dehydration
is to opt for a lightly flavored, very low-calorie beverage, like
Propel Fitness Water, which helps promote drinking for optimal hydration,�
To ensure that fitness professionals understand the prevalence of
dehydration in the gym, IDEA Health and Fitness Association, the world's
leading membership organization of health and fitness professionals,
has committed to ensuring that its 19,000 members are aware of the
results of the new study and receive new hydration tools that can
help them in working with clients. IDEA members can download a new
Workout and Hydration Rx Card for use with clients by accessing www.IDEAfit.com/rx.pdf
In addition to the overall dehydration findings, the study revealed:
� A trend towards men being more likely to be dehydrated before they
start their workout, as compared with women
Of the exercisers who arrived at the gym already dehydrated:
� More than 90 percent work out three or more times a week
� Nearly 75 percent planned to work out for an hour or more
� More than half thought they were properly hydrated
� Almost half admit it�s a struggle for them to drink enough
To help exercisers stay better hydrated, Stanforth sums up her recommendations
by offering three simple tips:
1. Bring fluids with you. If you�re at the gym, the
water fountain is not going to cut it; you need fluids in your hand.
2. Flavor is key. Research shows that people will
drink more of a beverage that has a little bit of flavor, like Propel
Fitness Water, than they will of just plain water.
3. Drink on a schedule. Once an exerciser is thirsty,
it�s too late. It�s important to drink before, during and after exercise.
As a final bit of advice, Stanforth clarifies when a sports drink
is in order for hydration, �When I work with athletic clients who
need to rehydrate by replacing the electrolytes they lose in sweat,
I recommend a sports drink. It also provides carbohydrate to fuel
working muscles to last longer.�
The study, conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute at Bally
Total Fitness locations in Chicago and Los Angeles, measured the hydration
status of more than 300 exercisers upon their arrival at the gym.
Subjects� pre-workout hydration status was predicted by measuring
urine specific gravity (USG), or a measure of the weight of urine
relative to its volume (grams/milliliter).
When a person is dehydrated, the weight rises relative to the volume
of urine produced, making the urine heavier, or more concentrated,
when compared with the same volume of urine collected when a person
is well hydrated.
Most experts in the exercise science community recognize 1.02 g/ml
as the cut off for normal hydration, meaning individuals with a USG
of 1.02 g/ml or lower are most likely normally hydrated, while individuals
with a USG over 1.02 g/ml are most likely dehydrated . USG can be
affected by a number of physiological and behavioral factors, and
therefore provides a prediction of hydration status rather than an
IDEA members and other fitness enthusiasts can learn more about hydration
and the benefits of a fitness water, as well as receive customized
fluid intake recommendations for their workouts via an interactive
Calculator at www.IDEAfit.com.
IDEA Health and Fitness Association is the world's leading membership
organization of health and fitness professionals with more than 19,000
members in over 80 countries. IDEA's mission is to support the world's
leading health and fitness professionals with credible information,
education, career development and leadership to help enhance the quality
of life worldwide through participation in safe, effective fitness
and healthy lifestyle programs. Member benefits include IDEA publications,
a comprehensive insurance program, continuing education opportunities
and career development programs.