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Fitness

Hydration among athletes its significance & importance

Summer is around the corner and with our daily outdoor activities and exercises, remaining hydrated are very important.  Hot temperatures, uniforms, length of activity and equipment all involve in an essential role with regards to dehydration among competitors.
Combating dehydration is of utmost importance as it can lead to serious implications and can have a negative impact on an athlete’s performance at practice or on game day. 

Why is hydration that important?
With increasing number of studies proving that drinking as much water as possible is important to our bodies, it’s even more essential for athletes.  Why because.....about 60-70% of our body is made up of water. It is the primary component of blood and helps in delivery of nutrients, regulates body temperature and helps improving muscle efficiency by pumping blood through blood vessels to muscles. Hence, it's essential that we hydrate and replenish our bodies well with water. By not properly hydrating we risk getting dehydrated and this can in turn affect our well being negatively.

What is Dehydration? What are the signs/symptoms that help you to prevent dehydration?
Lack of hydration-Dehydration, happens when an individual loses more fluid than they're taking in. Drinking fluids when a person feels thirsty is not a good indicator for staying properly hydrated. Often, once the first pangs of thirst are felt, the body is actually telling us we’re already in a water deficit. So, what happens when dehydration hits an athlete?

  • Training and exercise seems more difficult to perform
  • Headaches are frequent 
  • Muscle cramps increase  
  • Performances decrease 
  • Feeling of Nausea felt often  
  • Urine becomes infrequent and changes to darker shade of yellow 

Hence it is important that coaches, trainers, and athletes are able to identify the various signs of dehydration and act accordingly to prevent further complications.

PRACTICES THAT HELP ATHLETE TO STAY HYDRATED...
There are a few steps that should be taken before, during and after the exercise to ensure that athletes stay properly hydrated...
PRE EXERCISE - Athletes should start off workout in well hydrated state. Before athletes exercise, ensure 2-2.5 cups of fluid two hours prior is taken. 
DURING EXERCISE - There are recommendations for how much fluid to intake during workouts. These are different from one individual to another based on weight, sweat rate, and the environment. Balancing out the fluids, lost through sweat is the key here. Begin with ½-1 cup of fluid every 20 minutes. If the weather conditions are humid, hot or the workout is intense, you can increase this amount of fluids.
POST EXERCISE - After working out, it’s very important that athletes recharge themselves with fluids. Athletes should weigh themselves before and after workout to know approximately the amount of fluid to take post-workout. A good recommendation is to drink 3 cups of water for every pound lost.

Soooo.. WATER.. OR.. SPORTS DRINKS??? – THE RIGHT CHOICE???   
Water versus sports drinks are a frequently debated topic. One rule of thumb is to drink water for any physical activity that lasts less than an hour, whereas after a longer or more intense workout, a sports drink should be consumed.
For longer and harder workouts, sports drinks are great as the body tends to lose more electrolytes through sweat, and sports drinks helps to replenish them. If electrolyte levels like sodium and potassium decrease too much, the body can react with headaches and muscle   cramping. It is therefore important for athletes to choose a sports drink containing sodium and potassium at right amounts.

A NOTE ON OVER-HYDRATION
With all this talk about staying hydrated, can you drink too much? The reply is yes. Drinking too much can cause  hyponatremia that is--low levels of  sodium  in the blood, before, during, or after workout. Symptoms include, vomiting, confusion, swollen hands and feet, wheezing, weight gain during exercise.
While keeping up with the water intake, care should be taken to prevent over-hydration.

Alas! You have it there, everything you need to know about proper hydration for athletes. Apply these guidelines and at all times and perform to your best! Stay hydrated this summer! 

For proper hydration and electrolyte replenishment try BODYFUELZ FASTCHARGE!!! 

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