Orthostatic tolerance is impaired following an acute bout of exercise. This study examined the effect of fluid ingestion following treadmill exercise in restoring the cardiovascular responses to an orthostatic stress. Five men (age, 29.6 +/- 3.4 yrs) were exposed to a graded lower body negative (LBNP) pressure protocol (0 to -50 mmHg) during euhydration without exercise (C), 20 minutes after exercise dehydration (D), 20 minutes after exercise and fluid ingestion (FI20), and 60 minutes after exercise and fluid ingestion (FI60). Fluid ingestion (mean +/- SE) consisted of water-ingestion equivalent to 50% of the body weight lost during exercise (520 +/- 15 ml). Exercise dehydration resulted in significantly higher heart rates (119 +/- 8 vs 82 +/- 7 bpm), lower systolic blood pressures (95 +/- 1.7 vs 108 +/- 2.3 mmHg), a smaller increase in leg circumference (3.7 +/- 4 vs 6.9 +/- 1.0 mm), and an attenuated increase in total peripheral resistance (2.58 +/- 1.2 vs 4.28 +/- 0.9 mmHg/L/min) at -50 mmHg LBNP compared to the C condition. Fluid ingestion (both 20 and 60), partially restored the heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and total peripheral resistance responses to LBNP, but did not influence the change in leg circumference during LBNP (4 +/- 0.3 for R20 and 2.8 +/- 0.4 mm for R60). These data illustrate the effectiveness of fluid ingestion on improving orthostatic responses following exercise, and suggest that dehydration is a contributing factor to orthostatic intolerance following exercise.