Hydration is important any time of year, but the August sun feels particularly vicious this summer. This is especially true for those that have to exert themselves in this heat. Whether its for a sport or work, making sure your hydrating is key.
Ensuring proper hydration is not as easy as you might think. The fluids and electrolytes in our bodies are balanced at very specific levels. A change as little as 1% creates physiologic changes that can decrease performance, particularly in athletes. Most tend towards the side of not enough water, too much can be detrimental as well. Just like dehydration, hyperhydration can throw these delicate levels out of balance and some pretty nasty consequences; fatigue, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, cramping, spasms, seizures, and even death in extreme cases.
Instead of teaching athletes and outdoor workers to drink as much water as possible at all times, we can teach simple behaviors that promote healthy water intake before, during, and after activities.
Advice for athletes can be easily adapted to those who work outside as well. Check the links for great handouts made by the NCAA.
- Carry a regular sized water bottle throughout the day.
- This promotes regular hydrating and avoids over-hydration from “cramming” right before activities
- Avoid sugary drinks and energy drinks
- Be aware of the sugar content in sports drinks. While they may have electrolytes, the excess sugar can be a problem
- Fruits and vegetables are great sources of water and have lots of vitamins and minerals (electrolytes)
On of the best ways to monitor your hydration status is to keep an eye on your urine color.
In addition to regular hydration, supplementary water consumption should be timed around practices, games, or outdoor activities.
|Before exertion||2 to 3 hours before: 16 ounces (about 1 water bottle)
15 minutes before: 8 ounces
|During exertion||4 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes (2 to 3 large gulps)|
|After exertion||16 to 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost
(1 to 1½ water bottles per pound lost)
Proper hydration helps keeps athletes and workers safer. Not only in avoiding the dangers of dehydration, but also keeping them focused and at their peak performance. This can help keep kids from being part of the increasing number of children with sports-relating injuries.
Just like other sports injuries, if you or your children are having any symptoms of dehydration/hyperhydration make sure to see a doctor right away.