Important Hydration Tips for Athletes
As the human body comprises of about 50-60% water, it is imperative that we remain well-hydrated at all times. This is particularly important for athletes who require optimal hydration levels to aid in their muscle and cognitive function, thermoregulation, and joint lubrication. Drinking enough water is also the best way to prevent dehydration from setting in which can not only cause great discomfort but pose a serious health risk as well. Here are a few hydration tips athletes should follow to help ensure they remain in good form and good health at all times.
Be mindful of dehydration during exercise
It is essential that athletes remain very mindful of their hydration levels during exercise. Athletes should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration and must know how to both prevent it and treat it when necessary. Common symptoms of dehydration in athletes include diminished energy levels, dizziness, a very dry mouth, cramps, and headaches. Typically, four to six ounces of water should be consumed for every 20 minutes of strenuous exercise the athlete engages in. As vital as optimal hydration is, so too is it to not over-hydrate yourself when training. Although many athletes rely on sports drinks to combat dehydration and replenish their electrolytes during exercise, water remains the top choice as it’s not only natural but calorie-free and gentle on the digestive system.
Replace the water lost after training
At the end of a session, it is important to replace the fluid that was lost during the intense workout. It is recommended that athletes drink between 16 and 24 ounces of water for every pound of bodyweight they lost during training. You can judge by how much water you have lost during training by how much you sweated. If your clothes are soaked and your hair is plastered against your head, you are definitely in need of adequate hydration. Ideally, re-hydration should be completed no more than two hours after physical activity has ceased and should form part of your normal post-workout routine. Have regular sips of water while you have a shower, change your clothes, or reach for the hairdryer or shine spray.
Don’t disregard the power of hydrating foods
Apart from drinking sufficient amounts of water before, during, and after training, athletes can also boost their hydration by consuming hydrating foods. Topping this list is cucumber with an incredible 96.7% water content. Other good choices include pears (which is also a superb source of fiber), celery, and watermelon. Berries also boast a range of hydrating benefits with blueberries and raspberries both containing around 85% water. Strawberries, however, are in a league of their own and are known to contain more than 90% of water. These and other hydrating foods can be eaten as part of a meal, added to delicious smoothies, or consumed as both pre- and post-workout snacks that will help replenish your fluids and give your energy levels a nifty boost as well.
Sufficient hydration is of the utmost importance for athletes. Thankfully, with a little bit of effort, it is possible to keep your hydration at optimal levels at all times.