Proper Hydration During Ultra-endurance Activities

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The health and performance of ultra-endurance athletes is dependent on avoidance of performance limiting hypohydration while also avoiding the potentially fatal consequences of exercise-associated hyponatremia due to overhydration. In this work, key factors related to maintaining proper hydration during ultra-endurance activities are discussed. In general, proper hydration need not be complicated and has been well demonstrated to be achieved by simply drinking to thirst and consuming a typical race diet during ultra-endurance events without need for supplemental sodium. As body mass is lost from oxidation of stored fuel, and water supporting the intravascular volume is generated from endogenous fuel oxidation and released with glycogen oxidation, the commonly promoted hydration guidelines of avoiding body mass losses of >2% can result in overhydration during ultra-endurance activities. Thus, some body mass loss should occur during prolonged exercise, and appropriate hydration can be maintained by drinking to the dictates of thirst.

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