Are you an athlete? Do you long to compete in the Olympics? There are many different hydration tips for athletes that you may not have heard of. Even if you just enjoy watching the Olympics at home, it is important to properly hydrate before exercising.
While watching the Olympics, some may wonder, “What could be the difference between the gold medal and bronze medal athletes?” An athlete’s hydration status could be one of the factors. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Sport Nutrition Team published a hydration factsheet that states, “hydrated cells are critical to get the most of daily training and facilitate recovery. The effects of significant dehydration can take hours and even days to recover from.” Therefore, it is imperative for athletes to prevent dehydration from the get-go.
How Much Water Should an Athlete Drink?
How much water should you drink during a workout? It depends. There are no set rules on the amount of water an adult should drink while exercising. Several factors like the type of exercise and the climate could play into your body’s hydration level. The American Council on Exercise has provided the following hydration tips for athletes:
• Drink 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before you start an exercise
• Drink 8 ounces of water 20-30 minutes before you start an exercise (or during warm-up)
• Drink 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes while exercising
• Drink another 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise
• Drink enough while training to limit dehydration to less than 2% body weight loss
To train like an Olympic champion, hydration status must be considered and monitored. “Athletes should be consuming .5 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every day,” said Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research for Athlete’s Performance in Phoenix, Arizona, who regularly consults with Olympic contenders and pros.
Importance of Hydration
Whether it be playing a game of tag or participating in a school sport, being able to do your best means you need to start preparing well in advance of your activities! It is vital to drink water before, during and after to ensure that you are on top of your game.
Both Katie Uhlaedner, USA Skeleton Racer, and Lindsey Vonn, USA Alpine Skier, former Olympic athletes, understand the importance of hydration. Katie stays hydrated by “drinking a lot of water and taking omega 3s every day.” Lindsey provides hydration advice for young athletes. “I know kids don’t like to drink water, but it’s important to stay hydrated, so get as much water down as possible.”
7 Hydration Tips for Athletes
1. Keep water close so you see it and drink it often throughout the day
2. Aim to drink at least 2 cups of water with each meal
3. Eat fruits and vegetables as they have a high water content (Cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, and grapes are some of the most hydrating foods.)
4. Use a straw to drink (A straw allows you to drink more water quicker.)
5. Set a daily fluid intake goal or use an app on your phone
6. Add natural flavor by adding different fruits, vegetables, and herb
7. Invest in a bottled water delivery service to keep water bottles on hand at all times
Even though you may not be competing on the Olympic stage, you can stay hydrated like an Olympic champion.
Symptoms of Dehydration in Athletes
Any type of exercise causes your heart to pump and your body to sweat. Your body cools down by releasing H2O in the form of perspiration. One’s athletic ability can decline with even a small amount of dehydration. It is important when exercising to keep your body hydrated.
An adult’s body is made up of 60% water. Water energizes the muscles and lubricates the body for a better overall workout. A well-hydrated athlete’s heart does not have to work as hard and oxygen and nutrients are transported to the muscles more efficiently.
Your body will give you clues to stay properly hydrated. Make sure to drink a glass of water immediately if after exercising you notice symptoms like.
• Dry mouth
• Muscle cramping
• Infrequent peeing
Your body can hold onto water when you do not have enough, or get rid of it if you have too much. Another clue is the color of your urine. If your urine is a very light yellow, your body might be getting rid of excess water. If your urine is a dark yellow your body is holding on to the water, providing a clue that it is time to drink up.
There are many different hydration tips for athletes that may make your exercise a little easier. It is important to stay hydrated to perform your best and ensure your safety as well. If you have questions about the amount of water you should be drinking when exercising, talk to your doctor.