By: Kirby Talman, ATC
It’s August and football two-a-days are starting today; have you had enough fluids? You want to make sure your body is properly hydrated to be able to perform to the best of its ability and to prevent the risk of dehydration and other heat illnesses. These are recommendations for fluid replacements for athletes during a performance.Evaporation of sweat from the skin is the primary way the body is cooled down as the core temperature rises during exercise. Sweating is the release of fluids from the body’s glands. The sweating rate is related to exercise intensity, individual differences, environmental conditions, acclimatization, clothing, and baseline hydration. It’s important that your body has adequate fluids pre-, during, and post- exercise.
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the athlete should consume 17 to 20 fluid ounces (fl oz) of water or sports drink 2 to 3 hours prior to exercise. About 10-20 minutes pre-exercise, consume 7 to 10 fl oz of water or sports drink. During exercise, the athlete should consume 7 to 10 oz of water or sports drink every 10 to 20 minutes. If bouts of exercise exceed more than 45 to 50 minutes, include carbohydrates in the drink. The optimal concentration of carbohydrates in the drink should be 6 to 8% per a liter, for example sports drinks. Fruit juices and sodas are not recommended and have concentrations higher than 8%. During games or long distance running, the athlete should consume the most fluids possible to maintain hydration. Fluids should be readability available, flavored to the athlete’s preference, and at a cool temperature. After exercise, athletes should replenish their fluids lost within two hours and no more than six hours. One way to ensure you are properly hydrated is by the color of your urine. If your urine is clear, or has just a light yellow hue to it, you are doing well on hydration.
If an athlete is not properly hydrated, they are at risk for dehydration and other heat illnesses. Dehydration occurs when the loss of fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. General signs and symptoms include headache, weakness, dizziness, cramps, chills, vomiting, nausea, and decreased performance. Dehydration occurs when the athlete loses more than 1 to 2% of body weight and if the athlete loses more than 3% they are at risk for other heat illnesses (heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke). Proper hydration plays a key role in athletic performance.
Casa, D. J., Armstrong, L. E., Hillman, S. K., et al. (2000) National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 35(2), 212-224.