1. The effect on fluid homoeostasis of walking 37 km on each of 4 consecutive relatively cool days was studied in six male subjects. The daily exercise intensity was consistent and was equivalent to 17(1)% [mean (se)] of maximum oxygen uptake for these subjects.
2. The diet during the study consisted of a mainly carbohydrate breakfast, consumed immediately before each day‘s exercise, and unrestricted access to a normal mixed diet after completion of each day's exercise. Water was allowed ad libitum during the walk. Food and fluid intake were recorded.
3. Body weight remained constant over the 4-day walk. The difference between total daily fluid intake and the corresponding 24 h urine output was 1684 (250) ml, 1621 (522) ml, 1107 (252) ml and 1406 (208) ml, respectively, on each of the 4 exercise days.
4. There was a calculated increase of 21.3(6.6)% in plasma volume over the 4-day walk; the largest daily change [11.3(2.9)%] occurred during the walk on day 1. The increase in plasma volume was maintained for at least 4 days after completion of the walk.
5. From day 2, serum sodium concentration tended to increase during the exercise period and fell to the pre-exercise concentration during the overnight rest periods. The concentration of the other measured serum constituents remained relatively constant, and serum osmolality did not alter over the study period.