Brought to you by the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University.


    This page is meant to be a general guide to nutrition for the promotion of  health and fitness.  This information on this page is not meant to give specific individual dietary recommendations but general guidelines for a healthy diet.


    Water is the most basic nutrient need. The body is composed of 50-75% of water, depending on age and body fatness (Howley, E. T., & Powers, S. K. (1997). Exercise Physiology (3rd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Brown & Benchmark.) Water is used for three essential body processes: temperature regulation, cellular processes, and body composition. Water is taken into the body through the consumption of fluids, water within solid foods consumed, and created within the cell through oxidation. Water is lost by urine excretion, stool excretion, sweat, and respiration. Therefor we must find a balance between our fluid intake and fluid excretion.

    During exercise our body regulates its core temperature through sweat. As a result we often excrete more water than we intake, which can lead to heat cramps, heat syncope, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The most common electrolyte/fluid imbalances are heat cramps and syncope and dehydration.

Heat Cramps and Syncope
Symptoms of Heat Cramps: Treatment:
cramps usually in abdominal or calf muscles during or after sustained exercise  drink water with .5% sodium content, massage muscle, and rest in a cool environment
Syncope Symptoms: Treatment:
blurred vision and/or brief fainting or near fainting with normal temperature *May result from dehydration or from blood pooling in lower extremities lay on back in cool environment and drink water
Dehydration Symptoms of Dehydration: Treatment:
fatigue and weakness, dry mouth *Loss of work capacity is a result of dehydration  drink fluids and sodium replacement Roitman, 
*J.L. (Ed.). (1998) ACSMÆs Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (3rd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins.

    Dehydration is the most common water/electrolyte imbalance. If an athlete losses 2% of their fluid reserve, they will have reduced their work capacity by 10-15%. Each pound of weight lost represents 16oz. of fluid or two cups of sweat (Jordan, P. (1995). Fitness Theory & Practice (2nd ed.). Sherman Oaks, CA: Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.). Therefor this measurement should be used as a guideline for fluid replacement after an exercise session. However precaution for dehydration should begin before during, and after exercise.

General Training Guidelines for Fluid Intake

    Another important indicator to use for hydration is the color of your urine. If urine is dark colored or scanty, you have be dehydrated and need more fluids. Urine should be clear colored and copious (Jordan, 1995).


Go to The Exercise and Physical Fitness Home Page

The Exercise and Physical Fitness Web Page is an ongoing project by graduate students in the Master of Science program in Exercise Science in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University. This project was created by J. Andrew Doyle, PhD, and was last modified on: April 27, 1999.