Did you know that one of the most effective performance enhancing substances is plain old water! Losing just 2% of your bodyweight in sweat during activity can decrease both mental and physical performance!
How do you know how much water you should be drinking?
The best way to see if you are drinking enough water during exercise is to weigh yourself before a practice or competition and then again after (ensuring to empty your bladder and remove sweaty clothing first). Your weight should be the same before and after, if you are a few pounds lighter then you have not adequately replaced the fluid that you lost during the event. Other signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, muscle cramps, low urine output, and darker urine (your urine should be pale yellow). Tips to stay hydrated:
Drink water throughout the day, especially on competition days.
Take small sips of water throughout your competition. This could be every time you come off after a shift, or every 10-15 minutes of a race.
Even if you don’t feel thirsty during your event, have small, frequent sips of water.
Continue to drink after the event.
Be cautious of overhydration!
Although dehydration is far more common, overhydration is possible and can lead to electrolyte imbalances such as hyponatremia, which can be dangerous. It is important to talk to a qualified healthcare provider about individualized hydration for you and your specific sport. Sometimes it may even be necessary to drink more than just water.
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