Staying Hydrated During Summer Sporting Activities: Essential Tips for Athletes

Staying Hydrated During Summer Sporting Activities: Essential Tips for Athletes

Summer brings longer days, warmer weather, and an abundance of outdoor sporting activities. However, with the increase in temperature and physical exertion, the risk of dehydration rises significantly.

Dehydration reduces blood volume, hindering oxygen delivery to muscles and vital organs, which results in lower stamina, decreased strength, and impaired endurance. In contrast, staying well-hydrated enhances blood circulation, ensuring efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles, thereby boosting performance, speeding up recovery, and enhancing focus.

About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake about 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) of fluids a day for women is required.

Here are some essential tips for staying hydrated during your summer sporting activities.

1. Start Hydrating Early

Begin hydrating well before your activity. Drinking water throughout the day ensures that your body is well-prepared for the increased demands of physical exertion. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily in the days leading up to your event or workout.

2. Drink Regularly During Activity

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Thirst is a late indicator of dehydration. Make it a habit to drink small amounts of water at regular intervals. Aim for about 200-300ml of water every 10-20 minutes during your activity.

3. Choose the Right Fluids

Water is usually sufficient for activities lasting less than an hour. However, for extended periods of exercise, especially in hot conditions, sports drinks can be beneficial. They not only hydrate but also replace electrolytes lost through sweat. Look for drinks with a balance of sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates.

4. Stay Cool

Try to keep your body cool to reduce sweating and fluid loss. Wear lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing and, if possible, take breaks in the shade or indoors. Using a cooling towel or misting yourself with water can also help manage your body temperature. Everyone has a different sweat rate, which can influence how much fluid you need to stay hydrated. Optionally you can weigh yourself before and after exercise to understand your fluid loss. For every 500g lost during activity, drink about 475-700ml of water to rehydrate.

5. Incorporate Hydrating Foods

Eating foods with high water content can contribute to your overall hydration. Fruits like watermelon, oranges, and strawberries, as well as vegetables like cucumbers and lettuce, are excellent choices. These can be a refreshing way to stay hydrated and nourished.

6. Avoid Dehydrating Substances

Limit the intake of caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration. If you consume these, make sure to balance them with extra water. Also, be cautious with sugary drinks, as they can lead to a quick spike in blood sugar followed by dehydration.

7. Plan Your Hydration Strategy

Before engaging in any sporting event, have a hydration plan. Know the locations of water stations if you’re participating in a race or event. Carry a water bottle with you if you’re on a long run, bike ride, or hike. Planning ahead can prevent dehydration and keep you performing at your best.

8. Recognize the Signs of Dehydration

Be aware of the symptoms of dehydration, which include dry mouth, dark urine, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. If you or a teammate experience any of these symptoms, stop activity immediately and rehydrate.


Staying hydrated during summer sporting activities is essential for your health, safety, and performance. By following these tips, you can enjoy your favourite sports and outdoor activities while minimising the risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses. Remember, proper hydration starts well before you begin your activity and continues long after you finish. Stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay active!



  1. McDermott et al, National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for the Physically Active. Journal of Athletic Training. Vol 52, 2017, p877-895.
  2. Nick Fowler-Rimell, Hydration for Athletes in Hot Weather: Unlocking Peak Performance
    Canoe Wales, Jul 13, 2023,