All players benefit when the body is optimally hydrated. This is not just a game-day issue, but a daily priority. To prevent dehydration, especially in hot, humid environments, athletes need to drink often and enough. A reminder… spitting out fluids doesn't hydrate the body!
Tips for Hydration
- Before you exercise: Start 4-6 hours before you lift/practice or competition; drink 10-20 ounces of fluid.
- Fifteen minutes before competition, drink 8-16 ounces of fluid.
- During exercise: Drink 4-8 ounces of cool fluid every 10-20 minutes.
- After exercise: Keep drinking fluids beyond the “thirsty” feeling, to ensure proper hydration.
- Not all fluids serve as hydrating components. Soda, coffee and energy drinks should not be used to properly hydrate athletes.
- Water (bottled or tap) and electrolyte replacement drinks (such as Gatorade) should be encouraged during and after games and practices.
- Hydrate before physical activity. Most athletes are dehydrated before they even step on the field of play. It's important to begin exercise fully hydrated.
- Use the urine test: The color of a player's urine should be clear to slightly yellow (lemonade). If it's darker in color, he or she is not properly hydrated.
- Hydrate during physical activity. Sports drinks are most beneficial to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat.
- After physical activity, athletes can continue sweating for up to an hour. They're still losing fluids that need to be replenished, so continue to hydrate.
- In addition to water – which provides fluid – it is important to provide athletes with electrolyte replacement drinks that can provide energy, carbohydrates and electrolytes.
- If you feel or see any of the following symptoms locate a trainer or coach immediately:
- Sudden dizziness, weakness, faintness, and headache.
- Warm, blotchy skin and NO SWEATING!
- Rapid heartbeat and/or a sudden stomach ache (vomiting)
- Uncontrollable muscle cramps.