How do you Stay Hydrated? Rehydration is even more essential when summer temps soar. Summer break means summer practices under that hot summer sun. Dehydration is a big risk due to these warm weather conditions combined with weekend tournaments or double day workouts. Being dehydrated can result in up to a 50 percent decrease in athletic ability. Learning how to stay hydrated is an easy way to optimize your performance and get an edge over the competition.
The average human body is 50 to 75 percent water. The leaner the body, the higher the proportion of water. Fluids are essential for almost all of the body’s functions. These include digesting food, transporting nutrients and releasing heat. If your body is dehydrated, it can result in an increase in body temperature, increased risk for heatstroke and heat exhaustion, and decreased strength, speed and stamina — none of which an athlete wants to experience.
To stay on top of your game this season, drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids before, during and after your training. Since thirst is a symptom of dehydration, make sure to drink before your body sends this signal. Train yourself to drink by the following schedule, not by thirst, to ensure that you are well hydrated:
Drink 16 ounces of water 2 hours before training/competition
Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water 15 minutes before training/competition
Also, Drink 4 to 16 ounces of water or sports drink every 30 minutes during training/competition
Younger, smaller athletes: aim for lower end of range
Older, larger athletes: aim for higher end of range
Rehydration is especially important if you have weekend tournaments or two-a-day practices. If you haven’t replaced your fluids and electrolytes, you’ll be at risk for lower heat tolerance, greater cardiovascular strain, and increased risk of muscle cramping during your next game/practice.
Weigh yourself before and after a game or practice. For every pound lost, drink 16-24 ounces of fluid such as water, milk, 100 percent juice, smoothies, coconut water, or sports drinks.
Practical Everyday Tips for Staying Hydrated
Start your day with a glass of water. Drink it before breakfast or even before you get out of bed. Put a glass on your nightstand so it’s waiting for you when you wake up.
If your water bottles are old, smelly or hard to clean, find a new one that you’re happy to have around so that you’ll actually use it.
Eat your fruits and veggies — many have a high water content, such as: watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, melon, cabbage, cucumbers, beets, jicama, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce.
Add flavor to your water. These are great flavors to make drinking water more enjoyable: strawberry, kiwi, lemon, basil, mint, cucumber, apple, ginger, lime.
Staying consistently hydrated will help you feel your best during your training sessions, which will result in improved performance at game time. Have a great summer, and remember to drink up!
Maximize your performance by seeking out personalized advice from Nutrition Coach Jill Daniels, MS, RD, CSSD, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. www.JillDanielsRD.com