A refresher course on how much--and what--to drink on hot summer runsDuring the blazing days of summer, you need more than sunscreen to protect your body from the sun. "Hydration becomes most important during intense exercise in the heat," says Douglas Casa, Ph.D., who heads the University of Connecticut's Korey Stringer Institute, which studies heatstroke and other causes of sudden death in sports. "If you're not adequately hydrated, your blood volume drops, which means your heart has to work harder to power your muscles and keep you cool. When that happens, your athletic performance suffers."
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While it's important to stay hydrated during exercise, it's impossible to create one-size-fits-all drinking guidelines. Every athlete's needs are different. Your body weight, sweat rate, and effort level, along with the temperature, humidity, and elevation, affect how much you should drink. That doesn't mean you should leave your hydration plan up to chance. These strategies can help ensure you drink the right amount before, during, and after every run.