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WUT: A Memory Device to Monitor Hydration

December 2, 2005 02:34 PM

By Jim Brown, Ph.D., Executive Editor, Sports Performance Journal, Author, Tennis: Steps to Success

The Gatorade Sports Science Exchange has published WUT, which is a memory device designed to help athletes monitor their own day-to-day hydration status. WUT is based on scientific principles of hydration assessment, but the only equipment it requires is a body-weight scale. If monitoring your hydration by this means is not effective, consult a sports nutritionist. Below is a summary of how the WUT system works.

W = Weight
Maintain a day-to-day stable body weight by weighing yourself first thing every morning. Day-to-day body weight losses in excess of one percent may be an indication of dehydration. Following are examples of athletes weighing 100, 200, and 300 pounds:

** a loss of one pound (0.45 kg) for an athlete who weighs 100 lb (45.5 kg)
** a loss of two pounds (0.91 kg) for an athlete weighing 200 lb (91 kg),
** a loss of three pounds (1.4 kg) for an athlete weighing 300 lb (136.4 kg).

U = Urine
It is normal to produce more urine when body water is high and less urine when body water is low. Therefore, urine volume is generally more related to body water or hydration level than to drinking pattern. If sweat losses are high, less urine may be produced despite normal or even increased fluid intakes. Low urine production can cause it to be more concentrated and a darker color. A reduced daily urine frequency and darkening of urine color in a sample taken during the first urination of the morning may be an indication of dehydration.

T = Thirst
The absence of thirst does not indicate the absence of dehydration. However, the presence of thirst is an indication of dehydration and the need to drink. Therefore, if thirst is present, combine that with urine or body weight information to be more certain.

When Two or More Are Present
When two or more of the (above) markers of dehydration are present, it is likely that you are dehydrated. If all three markers are present, dehydration is very likely.

Three Questions
Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Am I thirsty?
  • Is my morning urine dark yellow?
  • Is my body weight this morning noticeably lower when compared to yesterday morning?

If the answer to any one of these questions is yes, you may be dehydrated. If the answer to any two of these questions is yes, it is likely that you are dehydrated. If the answer to all three of these questions is yes, it is very likely that you are dehydrated.

© 2005 HMS Publishing, Inc.
Jim Brown will be contributing new content to this site on a monthly basis. If you have a question for Dr. Brown please feel free to email him at sportsmed@mindspring.com.

 

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