The Quest to Stay Hydrated
Hydration & Sports Performance
Daily Hydration for Sport Performance
A vital component to an athlete’s performance is hydration. The human body is made up of 60-70% fluid which shows how important the need is to stay hydrated.
A lack of fluids can hinder an athlete’s performance. Just a 3% loss of fluid in the body can cause an athlete’s performance to drop.
It’s important to drink water throughout the day, starting with a good amount first thing in the morning. This will replace fluids lost during the night to boost your body’s mental clarity and bodily functions.
Water is needed to flush toxins out of the body, which helps to keep muscles healthy and the body working exactly how it should. It also keeps joints lubricated and moving well and keeps blood pressure regulated.
As an athlete you will lose a lot of fluid throughout the day in the form of sweat. It is important to keep sipping water throughout exercise and when you have completed your training.
It’s easy to drink more water by taking a water bottle with you throughout the day. Another helpful tip is to invest in a larger water bottle so you have adequate water everywhere you go. Eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content will help with hydration as well. Lastly, a glass of water before bed will help to top of fluid stores.
Dehydration will increase cardiovascular strain and contribute to muscle fatigue as lactate production is increased. Dehydration also means that you could have an imbalance of electrolytes. Electrolytes optimize the body’s ability to absorb water and help with muscle and organ function. Electrolytes also keep us thirsty which remind athletes to stay hydrated. During intense exercise of over an hour, electrolyte drinks are effective for quickly replacing fluids and salts lost in the body and restoring hydration.
Around 16.9 ounces of water should be drank two hours before exercise, and another 5.7 ounces immediately before. It is then important to drink regularly throughout exercise, aiming for 5.7 ounces every 20 minutes. This will replace the water you lose from sweat. It is important to speak with your coach about optimal hydration levels for your own body, as the amount of water you need will differ when compared to another athlete.
You don’t have to just drink water, either - both milk and fruit juices contribute towards daily fluid consumption, although you should be aware of the amount of sugar in some juices. These also provide extra nutrients for the body, and calories if your body needs them.
Checking the color of your urine is the easiest way to see how hydrated you are. If your urine is clear, you’re good to go and are doing a great job of drinking enough fluids throughout the day. However, if your urine is a dark yellow, it’s time to grab a water bottle and get chugging.
Dehydration doesn’t only affect the body physically, it affects the brain too, which is just as important for the optimal performance of an athlete.