Hydration is essential for athletes. It helps us delay fatigue, maintain mental focus, regulate body temperature, quench your thirst, and improve the ability to recover from training and competing.
Approximately 60 percent of our body weight is water. As athletes, when we train and compete, water is lost every time you sweat and breathe. If water from the body is not restored at regular intervals during practice or competitions, it will lead to dehydration.
What Is Dehydration?
Dehydration happens when you don’t have as much water as you need. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t function properly. Dehydration can range from mild to severe, depending on how much water is missing from your body. Symptoms of dehydration can include the following:
- dizziness or lightheaded feeling
- nausea or vomiting
- muscle cramps
- dry mouth
- lack of sweating
- fast heartbeat
- fast breathing.
Why is Hydration Important?
- It improves muscle function. Hydrated muscles function better than dehydrated muscles.
- It regulates blood pressure. Staying hydrated helps maintain blood pressure during exercise, so your heart won’t have to work harder to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- It improves circulation. Staying hydrated also improves blood flow and circulation, thus delivering oxygen and nutrients to working muscles. Proper hydration also helps remove metabolic by-products and waste from tissues, while replacing the water that is lost through sweat.
How To Stay Hydrated
To maintain optimal hydration throughout a workout, athletes require 80-96 oz. of water, which equals approximately 5-6 (16.9 oz.) water bottles/sports drinks per day consumed at meals and snacks, so they start exercise in a hydrated state. During exercise, athletes require 4 to 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
A simple way to make sure you’re staying hydrated is to check your urine. If your urine is usually light yellow, you are most likely well
hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine can be a sign of dehydration.
The Effects Of Dehydration
Dehydration contributes to muscle fatigue, which can increase the risk of injury. Staying hydrated can help reduce muscle fatigue and reduce the risk of injury. Even mild dehydration can negatively affect your performance significantly.
Dehydration is due to an increase in core temperature and sweat loss and the primary cause of fatigue, even in moderate weather conditions. The high sweat rate during intermittent exercise can result in dehydration, and dehydration associated with as little as a 2% body weight loss can impair performance.
Best Fluids To Drink During Exercise
The best fluid choices for athletes are water and sports drinks. Water is a great hydrator and is great for exercise that lasts less than an hour, and on cool days. For intense workouts that last longer than an hour, and on hot and humid days, a sports drink containing carbohydrates (no more than 14 grams per 8 fluid oz), and electrolytes like sodium and potassium can improve stamina and prevent dehydration better than water alone. Keep in mind that not all sports drinks are made equally. A lot of them contain extreme amounts of sugar, which leads to dehydration, which makes you drink more of their products because you’ll feel more thirsty than you did prior to drinking them.
All in all, water is something every living thing needs to survive, but as athletes, we need to be aware of getting the right amount of water because we are losing more water at a higher pace than the average person does, due to all the intense exercise athletes go through daily.
I hope that this information is helpful to you and that you understand how to hydrate your body effectively, and if you enjoyed reading this article and would like to read more like this, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter list below, so you don’t miss out on any of my articles. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, and I am more than happy to help you out.
I hope you have a great day!!
– Trinity G.