What Hydration? Dehydration.

Got Water?

 

Summer is almost here and I know the burning question that is on everybody’s mind… well maybe it isn’t burning in everyone’s mind, but perhaps it should be. Is dehydration affecting your performance on the field or in the gym? Long before dehydration has any serious impact on your physical health it can have a negative effect on your performance. Hydration is a hot topic especially when the summer temperatures start to rise, but how do you know if you are hydrating enough, and what is the best hydration strategy for you? It is important to note that every person is different, we all sweat differently, we sweat different volumes and we also sweat different concentrations of electrolytes. As such, everyone will have to hydrate slightly differently and if you are really serious about your training we recommend that you develop an individualized hydration strategy. Here are a few guidelines for you to follow while developing your personal strategy.

  • You never want to start a training session or a competition dehydrated, so make sure that you drink plenty of fluids the night before and the day of competition. If your urine is dark or you notice that you are urinating less than usual your fluid level should be increased.
  • If there is a sudden increase in temperature and or humidity, know that you will sweat more and be prepared to drink extra fluids throughout your activity.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that an athlete should not lose more that 2% of their body weight during exercise, so when you are first developing your hydration plan it is will be a good idea to weigh yourself before and after activity to determine if you are drinking enough fluid.
  • Be equally aware of over hydration. Unless you begin an event dehydrated an athlete should never finish an event weighing more than when they started.
  • While your urine should not be dark it is not your goal to make it as clear as possible, a pale yellow is fine.
  • Drinking plain water may not be enough during strenuous exercise, especially if you are a salty sweater (look for salt stains on dark clothes as your sweat dries).
  • A sports drink with glucose and electrolytes can help fuel your muscles and prevent cramping caused by hyponatremia (a low concentration of sodium in your body).
  • While using thirst as a guide is a good starting point studies have suggested that most athletes only drink enough to replace 2/3 of their fluid losses.
  • Fun fact, did you know that some people can sweat in excess of 3 liters per hour during intense exercise in the heat, if that’s not impressive I don’t know what is.

 

As always if you have any further questions about this or any other topic please feel free to email us at: [email protected] or send us a comment on facebook @sportsplusbayarea We will do our best to answer it or if we can’t we will direct you towards someone who can.  -Move Well. Be Well.