Arizona hit triple digits in May and the summers can be brutal! It is important to stay hydrated this summer especially if you are staying active by playing sports outdoors or staying fit at home. Professional athletes know exactly how much to drink, when to drink and what to drink. This ensures they remain hydrated and safe during training sessions and during their games. Do you know how to stay hydrated? Here are five hydration tips for all our student-athletes:
Tip #1: Be Hydrated Before Exercising.
Make sure you are in a hydrated state before starting to exercise by knowing how much you should drink during the day. According to the University of Michigan Director of Sports Nutrition, Caroline Mandel, a registered dietitian, in an interview on ESPNHS, “high school athletes require 10 to 12 cups of fluid (water, fruit juice, milk, etc.) per day. During exercise, athletes require 4 to 8 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.” Keeping a water bottle with you at all times can be an easy way to help you remember to drink and get the required amount of daily fluid you need to be hydrated.
Tip #2: Foods hydrate too.
Don’t think that only fluids keep you hydrated. What you choose to eat can also make a big impact on your level of hydration. Some excellent food sources to stay hydrated are for example: watermelons, grapefruits, strawberries, and cantaloupes. Consider eating these as a pre-exercise snack.
Tip#3: Be Aware of Signs of Dehydration.
Knowing the early signs of dehydration can save you from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Signs of dehydration during exercise are: coordination decline, muscle cramps, decrease in energy, muscle fatigue, and reduction in athletic performance. If you think you may be dehydrated, take a break from exercising, drink water or a sports drink containing electrolytes. Then you will need to get to a cool spot, like a shaded or air-conditioned area and rest a little.
Tip#4: Drink the right fluids.
According to Director Mandel, “The best fluid choices for young athletes are water and sports drinks. Water is a great hydrator and is fine for exercise that lasts less than an hour and exercise on cool days. For intense exercise that lasts longer than an hour and for exercise on hot and humid days, a sports drink that contains carbohydrate (no more than 14 grams per 8 fluid oz.) and electrolytes like sodium and potassium has been shown to improve voluntary hydration and prevent dehydration better than water alone. Milk, chocolate milk and fruit juices should be avoided during training or competition because their carbohydrate content is too high and causes an upset stomach.”
Tip#5: Know your body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, athletes who tend to be heavy sweaters should make sure they replace more fluids than others. An easy way to check if you are staying hydrated enough during a workout is to weigh yourself before and after. If after the workout you’ve loss more than 2% of your body weight, then you know you need to drink more next time to be sure you stay hydrated.
We hope these tips will help you stay hydrated and feeling good throughout the summer. Knowing how to stay hydrated will keep you healthy and safe, both on and off the court as well as improve your sports performance throughout the hottest of summers.