You don't need to be told to "drink water." Especially living in the desert, it's something you probably hear on the daily! But have you ever been informed on the importance of water as an athlete? And what could happen if you don't drink enough water?
Since we mentioned "enough" water, let's go over the basic recommendations for staying hydrated: drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces. For some quick math practice, a person weighing 140lbs would aim for 70 oz of fluids minimum each day. But get this – that's not including what you sweat out during practice, games, or training.
Each person's hydration needs will vary a bit, and being more active or in hotter, humid environments will require more water as well. Another rule of thumb for checking your hydration status is your urine color – look for lemonade shade. Anything darker could be a sign of dehydration setting in.
Ok, now we can dive into why hydration matters:
- For all humans, water and electrolytes are involved in the incredible reactions going on in your body to keep you alive and well!
- Staying well hydrated actually aids in proficient sweating and cooling mechanisms.
- Replenishing your electrolytes (think sodium and potassium) actually keeps water in your body rather than just peeing it out.
- Specifically for athletes, having strong drinking practices throughout the entire day prepares you for top performance, keeping your energy levels up and not overheating.
So then, what does it look like when we risk dehydration? Compromised performance starts to set in, such as slower reaction time, lower power and strength output, and decreased speed and endurance. (Psst – these effects start to set in with just 2% dehydration!)
To prevent these undesirable symptoms of dehydration, structure your day something like this: have a glass of water right when you wake up; drink another a glass every hour; start implementing electrolyte or sports drinks an hour before activity through an hour after activity; then continue drinking water the rest of the day.
Voila, you're ready to hydrate like a champ! Ask us more about how to best hydrate. We're here to support your fueling, hydration, and performance through it all!