Proper hydration. It’s an often overlooked but essential component of athletic performance. Even a small reduction in body fluids (as little as 5 percent) can cause a decrease in endurance, reaction time and/or concentration.
As an athlete, knowing the proper way to hydrate can help you maintain your optimal levels of performance.
The level of activity, environmental conditions (heat, humidity, wind etc.) and your rate of sweat all need to be considered when determining your before, during and after exercise hydration.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends you know your weight before an intensive exercise session. During exercise, you’ll lose body weight in the form of fluids. After exercise, you’ll need to replace those fluids.
The ACSM offers these general guidelines for exercise/sports hydration:
Research has shown both water and sport drinks are excellent sources for maintaining proper hydration.
Water is just as effective as sport drinks in sustaining performance levels for shorter workouts.
Certain sport drinks contain 6-8% carbohydrates. Research shows this amount of carbohydrates is more effective than drinking water alone in maintaining performance levels for sessions lasting longer than 60 minutes. Sports drinks that contain 6-8% carbohydrates tend to be less upsetting to the stomach and are quickly absorbed by your body to accelerate rehydration.
An easy way to decide if you need of fluids is to check the color of your urine. If the color is pale yellow or clear, then you’re well hydrated.
If the color is darker than pale yellow, then you’re probably dehydrated.
Do not rely solely on thirst as an indicator of dehydration — thirst is your body’s emergency warning signal. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. And surprisingly, once you’ve quenched your thirst, you still may not be fully re-hydrated.
By maintaining proper hydration, you can improve your performance and decrease your risk for injury. Proper before, during and after exercise fluid consumption is an easy way to make your exercise sessions even more beneficial.
Learn more about hydration and exercise, or schedule a Free Injury Evaluation. Call the Aurora Sports Health Hotline™ at 414-219-7776 or 800-219-7776.