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Make Hydration Part Of Your Game Plan

There are a variety of ways athletes can protect themselves from becoming dehydrated.

Published December 05, 2011 10:50

Make Hydration Part Of Your Game Plan
Ashley Harkleroad

Don't let dehydration drain your performance.

Remember, thirst is not always a sufficient indicator of hydration. In fact, strong thirst may be a sign that you are already 2-3% dehydrated.

DID YOU KNOW that a 1% level of dehydration can decrease athletic performance and 3% could put you in the high risk zone?

Whether you are performing indoor or outdoor activity, your body generates a lot of heat and you will lose fluid through sweating. Protect yourself from becoming too dehydrated and fatiguing more rapidly.

Drink Before, Drink During, Drink After

What's Your Game Plan?
• Arrive at your competition or practice venue well hydrated, healthy and fit to play.
• Drink plenty of fluids the day before and throughout the days of practice and matches, so that your urine is light-colored. See below Urine color chart
• Bring water & sport drinks to the court and drink up to 6-8 gulps on every change of ends to help maintain fluid levels during play.
• Replace fluids after play based on your body weight deficit. To get the total amount loss of fluids during activities, weigh yourself on a scale before and after
• Drink 20-24 oz of fluid per 1 pound of weight loss. This is equal to replacing 1.3-1.5 liters of fluid for every 1 kg weight lost.
• If you sweat a lot or you're prone to muscle cramping, adding salt to your sport drink (or adding salt to food) can assist you with replacing and retaining fluids and electrolytes. Add 1/3 teaspoon salt into one bottle of your sports drink to improve your performance by enhancing hydration.
• 1% low fat or skim chocolate milk is an optimal recovery drink. It contains carbohydrates, protein and fluid in an ideal 3:1 ratio which help to speed recovery. Drink your 1-2 cups chocolate milk, have a piece of fruit and additional fluids within 30 minutes after activity, for your optimal regeneration.

Talk to a PRIMARY HEALTH CARE PROVIDER or your medical practitioner to find out what will work best for you.

Take a look at this urine color chart to define your hydration:
Urine Color Chart

The contents of the Health site are for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. The materials herein are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.

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