Noaa Bujanover, MS, RD, CSP, LD/N, CSCS
Hydration is often overlooked when thinking about sports performance as well as sports medicine. However, it's one of the more important things we need to monitor, even more so here in Florida.
Research shows that losing 1-2% of your body weight during exercise can cause a decrease in performance and concentration which could lead to injury. A higher loss can lead to heat illness such as heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include: elevated heart rate, headache, muscle cramps, reduced sweating, dark urine, small amount of urine, clammy skin, chills and nausea and vomiting. Severe dehydration will cause heat exhaustion and could lead to heat stroke
In order to prevent dehydration or heat illness:
- Make sure athletes hydrate throughout the day and not relay on their thirst because when we are thirsty we are already somewhat dehydrated.
- Have a hydration break every 15 to20 minutes and try to drink about 5 to 9 oz
- Try to weigh them before and after practice to estimate fluid loss. For every 1 lbs they lose they should consume 10 to 20 oz
- Make sure they drink at least 16 to 24 oz right after a game/practice
If you ask yourself what should they drink?, its simple:
Throughout the day they should stick to water.
If practice is less than an hour they should also stick to water.
If the game/practice is more than 60 to 90 minutes they should probably consume a sports drink.
And if they partake in multiple games throughout the day they may benefit from a combination of sports drinks and salty snacks.