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Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:01 pm

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The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the premier professional organization dedicated to sports medicine and exercise science. In February 2007, they issued fluid and electrolyte replacement guidelines and recommendations for people involved in exercise and sport. Electrolytes are charged chemicals important for cell communication and fluid balance that include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. Exercise increases sweat rate and loss of fluids and electrolytes, particularly in the heat. Active people should replace these losses to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can impair exercise performance and increase the risk of heat injury. Drinking too much water can cause water intoxication (hyponatremia), which can lead to illness and death. People should begin exercise with normal levels of fluids and electrolytes (i.e. stable body weight). During exercise, consume enough fluid and electrolyte to prevent weight loss greater than 2 percent of body weight or excessive losses of electrolytes. Measuring body weight before and after exercise is a good way to gauge fluid losses and plan future fluid replacement strategies. Replace fluids and electrolytes after exercise to maximize recovery and prevent chronic dehydration and electrolyte depletion.
(American College of Sports Medicine position statement, 2007)

From Fahey Nutrition research column in Muscular Development magazine



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