When you’re practicing for hours in extreme heat and humidity, remember to stay well-hydrated.
Summer is here, and that means hot, hotter, hottest! Whether you’re on the go or on the field, water rules. Hydration is probably the single most underestimated component impacting athletic performance, so here are a few facts to quench your thirst on the subject.
Did you know:
• About 99% of the molecules in your body are water.
• Water accounts for about 70% of body weight.
• A minimum of three pints of water is lost every 24 hours, even in temperate climates.
Dehydration Warning Signs
Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration, which occurs when a person’s water content has fallen to a dangerously low level. If you don’t drink adequate amounts of water, the following symptoms of dehydration may occur:
• Severe thirst
• Dry lips and tongue
• Increased heart rate and breathing
• Coma can occur if not treated
In many cases, salt will have been lost as well as water. The concentration of salts in the body’s fluids must be kept at appropriate levels, and salt losses from heavy sweating must also be replaced through food, sports drinks or salt tablets.
You can monitor your hydration by weighing yourself before practice and again after practice. For every pound you lose during exercise, you will need to drink two cups of fluid to rehydrate your body. You can also check the color of your urine. If it is a dark gold color like apple juice, you are dehydrated. If you are well-hydrated, the color will look more like pale lemonade.
Once dehydration develops, fluid and salt replacement may be required at a much faster rate (intravenously). It’s far easier to prevent dehydration by paying attention to your water intake before, during and after practicing or playing. So hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is the stuff of life.
About the Author: Karen Jashinsky is the founder/CEO of 02 MAX, a fitness club for teens, opening in the fall of 2007 in Culver City, Calif. Karen is a certified fitness trainer and earned her MBA from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in 1996. For more information about 02 MAX, visit www.O2maxfitness.com.