As a registered dietitian, and sports dietitian for the Kansas City Chiefs. I am all about making sure my athletes are ready to play every day. Drinking enough fluid is key and needs to be a priority. Hydration NEVER takes a vacation. So, it is important to #ThinkYourDrink
Why does consuming enough fluid matter? Hydration is important for digestion, regulating our temperature, transporting nutrients to the cells, and improving strength, speed and stamina. If we don’t consume enough fluid, we will be slower, weaker and tire earlier in activity as well as have an increased risk for injury.
What counts as a fluid?
We could choose to drink
- Water- regular or carbonated
- Coffee or tea
- Or when appropriate sports drinks- during longer duration practices/workouts or competition
We can also choose water-containing foods such as:
So how do you know if you are drinking enough fluid?
What is the color of your urine?
If you don’t drink enough, you may experience one or more of the following:
- Noticeable thirst
- Muscle cramps
- Burning in stomach
- Dry mouth
- Impaired performance
How do we make good hydration a habit?
First, you need to drink enough every day to meet baseline fluid needs:
- 16-20 ounces of fluid within 10 minutes of waking up
- 10-20 ounces of fluid with every meal
- 10-12 ounces with every snack
- 10-20 ounces BEFORE BED
OPTIMIZING FLUID FOR SPORT
Do try to drink 20 oz of fluid 1 hour before exercise (could be a combination of fluids such as milk, water, or juice)- OR 10 ounces 15 minutes BEFORE either water or a sports drink or diluted juice.
HOW TO CONSUME FLUID DURING EXERCISE
When your body is active, you need to think about not only how much you drink but HOW you drink:
- Larger gulps over sips- to empty the stomach faster and get into the exercising muscles
- Swallow fluids, do not spit
- Drink, don’t pour fluid on your head
- Do NOT overdrink- more is not better- you need to drink enough but not too much
- Drink 3 cups of fluid for every pound lost in the hours after exercise
- Sports drink or water or a combination of these are the best fluid choices during exercise
- Be careful with energy drinks, which are high in caffeine content, but don’t contain the electrolytes that exercising muscles need.
ADD SALT IF NECESSARY
If you are a salt loser, you need to use more!
How do you know if you are a salty sweater?
- Your sweat may burn your eyes and/or taste salty.
- You may also notice salty residue on skin or uniform/clothes
What can you Do?
- Eat salty foods such as pickles, pretzels, crackers, salted nuts
- Use salt, Soy or Worcestershire sauce
- Cook rice or pasta with salt, bouillon, or broth
- Use sports drinks instead of water to provide sodium and help replace what is lost through sweating
- Consider adding salt to a sports drink. One-quarter teaspoon added to 20 ounces of sports drink or one-half teaspoon of salt added to 32 ounces of sports drink