It's a big concern for runners and people who work or exercise outdoors in the summer heat. Correct hydration can make a difference for athletic performance.
And knowing how much sweat is lost is the key to staying hydrated, or in some instances not drinking to the point of water intoxication, according to Eric O'Neal, assistant professor at the University of North Alabama's department of health, physical education and recreation.
"If your car didn't have a gas gauge, and you just randomly filled up, that's how most people drink (water)," O'Neal said. "‘It's been a while since I've gotten gas, so I should get some gas.' If you're someone who is physically active, keep a sweat loss journal. If you do that for a week, you'll have a really good idea on how much sweat you lose."
O'Neal has done extensive research into how much water athletes think they lose, how well they replace that water and what effects it has.
O'Neal, along with his students and colleagues in UNA's department of health, physical education and recreation, have published numerous articles on the subject, including in the European Journal of Sport Science, Nutrients and the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
They have found athletes greatly underestimate how much they sweat when they exercise.
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