The importance of hydration for athletes is too often overlooked.
In a time when everyone is looking for an edge with performance, we forget that water is the original performance enhancer.
Good hydration means getting the right amount of water before, during and after practice and competition.
Without the proper hydration your performance will not be at it’s best.
You can suffer from fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps and other, more serious, symptoms.
Let’s look at what water does for you.
What does water do for your body?
Our bodies are made up of 70% water.
The only thing considered more critical to life is oxygen and water is a very close second.
Perhaps when you realize how important water is to your body you’ll be sure to make hydration a priority in your life.
- Maintaining the health and integrity of every cell in the body
- Aiding in blood circulation
- Carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Helping to eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism
- Regulating body temperature through sweating
- Moisturizing the skin
- Moistening mucous membranes
- Lubricating and cushioning joints
- Aiding in digestion
- Helping convert food to energy
- Helping the body absorb nutrients
- Protecting and cushioning vital organs
- Removing waste
Think about that list for a moment.
Not only are all of these points critical to performance in sports, their critical to your everyday health.
A reduction of just 2% of fluid can result in degraded performance by as much as 10-20%.
Consider how hard you need to train to improve your game by 10%.
Can you imagine losing that and more because you don’t want to drink the proper amount of fluids?
What are the effects of dehydration?
Dehydration is very serious and can lead to a life threatening emergency.
If you experience any of the symptoms below you need to be evaluated immediately.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Dry lips and tongue
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of sweating
- Bright colored or dark urine
- Decreased urine output
- Sunken eyes
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Sudden decline in performance
Most of these symptoms by themselves don’t seem serious.
However, dehydration can lead to organ failure and brain damage in severe cases.
Take this seriously.
It’s not just your performance at stake, it’s your health.
How much water do you need?
I know, not what you want to hear.
The following graphics from ACMC.com give us a good idea of how to calculate hydration needs.
One thing to watch closely is your urine.
Now you might say, “My pee? Really?”
Generally the darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are.
Here’s a nice chart that is also from ACMC.com.
Now you know why water and hydration are so important to your success.
Are you ready to make a commitment to stay hydrated?
To be at your best, you have to.