THE IMPORTANCE OF HYDRATION FOR TODAYS ATHLETES
written by: BJ Flanagan- Body By BJ
It is said that 60% of the body is comprised of water and helps maintain adequate energy levels during exercise by utilizing macro-nutrients such as Carbohydrates, fats and Protein.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
When you exercise, your body and muscles generate heat and cause you to start sweating. Sweating equals fluid and electrolyte loss. If you don’t replace the fluid being lost from sweating, you can become tired,decrease performance levels, lose focus, become dehydrated, suffer heat exhaustion and in severe cases heat stroke.
As an athlete, you are asking your body to maintain a high level of sports performance, so your body MUST have the right amounts of fuel to accommodate these demands. Studies have shown that as little as 1% loss of body water can decrease sports performance levels (this can happen especially quickly in hot, humid environments.
For a 125 pound athlete, this 1% water loss equals 2.5 pound water weight loss. For each pound of water lost, you need drink 3 cups of water to replenish the water stores (2.5 lbs = 7.5 cups of water).
A practical tool for checking the amount of body water loss is to weigh in before and after practices.
Secondly, it’s important to remember that thirst isn’t always an indicator of dehydration, so you need to make sure you are paying close attention to the color of your urine. When body water is normal, urine is typically pale yellow or the color of fresh squeezed lemonade. When body water levels are low, urine is typically the color of apple juice.
WHEN AND HOW MUCH TO DRINK:
1-2 cups (8-16 oz) of water 1 to 2 hours before practice/competition
1-2 cups of water at least 30 minutes before practice/competition.
1/2 to 1 cup of fluid (water/propel/gatorade) every 20 minutes of practice/competition-
*depending on body weight- the heavier a person is the more fluid they will need,*
2-4 cups within two hours of completing your practice/competition (depending on amount of body weight lost). Remember to try and stay away from sugary fruit drinks/sodas as the will impede the hydration process.