How to Stay Hydrated during Hot Weather

Written by: Heidi Olynyk (Accredited Exercise Physiologist)

Staying hydrated while exercising in hot weather is key for optimal health and performance. Dehydration can have a significant impact on physical and mental performance not only whilst exercising, but post-exercise as well.

When you exercise, sweating is the main way for the body to cool itself down, especially with increased temperature, humidity, and intensity of exercise. The body will then continue to lose fluids through sweating and urine loss post-exercise increasing the risk of dehydration depending on fluid intake throughout the day making it extremely important to keep up with fluids and replace the fluids lost through sweat.


With these things in mind, here are some ways to reduce the risk of dehydration occurring

Pre-Exercise Hydration: Ensure adequate hydration before exercise to reduce the risk of dehydration while exercising. It could also be a great idea to snack on foods that have high water content including watermelon, cucumbers, grapes, etc.

Hydration during Exercise: Continue to drink water regularly during exercise, especially during more intense workouts due to sweat loss. If you are exercising for less than 1 hour, the best choice of fluids are water although, if you are exercising for more than 1 hour or if the environment you are exercising in is hot and/or humid, consider sports drinks or hydrolyte to help replace the electrolytes lost.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:

  • Increased heart rate and body temperature
  • Increased perception of the difficulty of exercise
  • Impaired skill levels
  • Increased risk of nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal problems during and after exercise
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of sweating
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • Dark urine

Hydrating after Exercise: Keep up with fluid intake post-exercise including water and electrolytes to replace fluids lost during exercise to help with recovery. Electrolytes including sodium, potassium, and magnesium are the main minerals lost with sweat and are essential for muscle function, and hydration balance.

Other factors to consider

  • Ensure you are wearing light and breathable clothing, especially on a hot day to allow air to pass through
  • Carry a water bottle around with you to ensure adequate fluid intake