Written by: Kristin Dugan, SPT (Texas State Physical Therapy)
The goal of every athlete is to be the best competitor in their sport. Some may think you need fancy equipment, expensive clothing, or the latest and greatest trend to be the best you can be. Although these things can be very helpful when training for your sport, you must have basic nutrition taken care before any of these luxuries can be beneficial to you. So, for the next few weeks we will be talking about the basic elements of nutrition and how they impact you as a competitive athlete.
Today, let’s talk about….HYDRATION!
Why is hydration important for athletes?
- 60-65% of your body weight is made up of water, and 75% of muscle is water—good hydration is important to keep your body and muscles working properly, especially during practice and competition.
- Compared to adults, children and young teens have a decreased ability to release heat built up in their body during physical activity—water is the best and most efficient way to cool your body down.
- Good hydration helps prevent injury—drink water to spend more time in the gym training, and less time sitting out at practice when you could be perfecting your skills.
How much water do I need to drink each day in order to maintain a competitive edge?
You must drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, NOT just before practice or events. Each person’s hydration needs depend on their size, the amount of physical activity performed that day, and the nature of the physical activity being performed.
Here are some general guidelines and helpful tips to meet your daily hydration:
- Consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day (ex: 100 lbs = 50 fl oz)
- Drink at least 16 ounces of fluids 2-3 hours before practice or events, then 8 ounces within 20 minutes of the start time
- Drink every 15-20 minutes during exercise
- Drink room temperature water during the day for faster absorption, but cool water during practice and competition to prevent overheating
- You are more likely to drink more water if you drink through a straw
- For every 1 mg of caffeine that you consume
What are some great things to know about water?
1. Some foods can help keep you hydrated due to their high water content:
- Oatmeal (84% water)
- Low-fat milk (90% water)
- Lettuce (99.5% water)
- Tomato (95% water)
- Broccoli (89% water)
- Low-fat yogurt (79% water)
2. Water is a natural appetite suppressant and helps speed up your metabolism
3. Water cleanses your body of toxins and reduces the stress and demand on your body to give you more energy.
4. Water helps build muscle tone, prevents muscle cramping, and helps your joints to move better
5. You are more likely to drink more water if you drink it through a straw
Now that you know the importance of hydration, WATER-you waiting for? GO DRINK SOME FLUIDS!