Summer is coming to an end, school is starting back up, and football practices have begun. But the summer heat and humidity haven’t left us, and that makes dehydration a real concern for young athletes. We have addressed this before, but the importance of adequate hydration can’t be underscored.
Proper hydration is crucial to staying healthy, and requires preparation far before hitting the practice field. Follow these steps to avoid dehydration:
- Review this guide to understand the required daily fluid requirements based on your body weight
- Drink plenty of fluids prior to exercise, even the day before
- Continue to drink water throughout your workout. The rule of thumb is to drink an extra 16 ounces of fluid for each pound lost during an intense workout. A total of 24 ounces should be drank for each pound lost.
- Be careful not to overhydrate by drinking too much too quickly
- In addition to water, turn to fruits to replace electrolytes and fluids
- Monitor your urine to ensure it maintains a pale color
- Listen to your body – cramping muscles, dry mouth and dizziness are warning signs that your body is becoming dehydrated
Refer to this table showing the amount of fluid loss associated with the various levels of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to serious health risks that are important to be aware of:
- Muscle cramping and extreme exhaustion, or potentially life-threatening heat stroke
- Swelling of the brain due to excessive replenishing of fluids after a workout
- Seizures due an electrolyte imbalance
- Low blood volume can lead to low blood pressure and oxygen in your blood
- Kidney failure
- Coma or death
Keep these tips and warning signs in mind before hitting the practice field or an intense workout and enjoy a safe and successful workout or game!