D’oh! Sorry for What I Did When I Was Thirsty
Getting a young athlete to drink enough water can be as tough as getting him up and out of bed for school after a tiring, late practice. Help your soccer player hydrate enough to play at his peak with a better understanding of why we need water and how we can get more of it.
Our bodies need water. Its a major component of our muscles and organs and is required to moisten food, digest food, transport nutrients through our body, discard waste, and help us regulate our body temperature. So, obviously, we need to keep hydrated.
The amount of water each individual needs to drink will vary by body weight. Give your young athlete this math problem to solve to determine how many ounces he should be consuming:
- Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = ________
- Multiply that number by 40 (if younger than 30, which all Mutiny players should be but for the parents reading this you’d multiply by 35 if between 30 and 55, and by 30 if over 55).
- Divide the new sum by 28.3 to get the total number of ounces you should drink each day.
Of course, if you’re getting a lot of activity, you should be drinking even more water. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adding 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes of exercise.
Signs of dehydration include:
• Decline in coordination
• Muscle fatigue or cramps
• Low energy
• Reduced performance
• Dry mouth
During exercise, especially on hot days, you can sweat as much as 2.5 liters of water per hour.
Prefer water to all other liquids throughout the day. Low-fat milk is also a good choice as it’s 90 percent water. Low sugar juice can work too. Or make yourself flavored water by putting citrus or watermelon or cucumber or mint in a water infuser.
If you’re drinking coffee, know that the caffeine does not help your fluid needs. The same would be true of a caffeinated soda.
Choose a sports drink wisely. For exercise beyond 60 minutes in duration, you might choose a sports drink containing carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium.
When you’re getting your fill of water, try to avoid spending money on bottled water. Some 95 million plastic water bottles are discarded daily! Of those only 20% get recycled. Carry a refillable water jug with you (we recommend a Mutiny sticker on the side)!
What you eat also makes a difference to your hydration. According to the Institute of Medicine, 20 percent of your water intake is from food.
Some foods can cause your body to get rid of water such as Brussels sprouts, celery, and cabbage. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t eat those foods, but you want to drink more water to compensate for them. After all, popcorn and tortilla chips tend to have a lot of sodium and cause you to retain water, but you’re probably not about to stop eating those — but, again, you’ll want to give your body more fluids after salty foods too.
Don’t worry though. You don’t have to drink all of the water your body needs. You can also get your body some replenishing water by eating:
Fruit isn’t your only option though. Start the day of a tournament with oatmeal (84 percent water) and bring some veggie snacks for the sidelines. Lettuce is 96 percent water, broccoli 89 percent water, and tomatoes are 95 percent water. Celery is 96 percent water and provides sodium and potassium, while bell peppers and cucumbers are 92 percent and 95 percent water respectively. Time to start getting into salads!
Some Hydration Tips
Help your performance with these tips for better hydration:
• Make water readily available throughout the day.
• Remind yourself to drink throughout the day by setting a cell phone alarm.
• Once you know the number of ounces of water you should consume daily, divide that number by the size of your water bottle. Say you should be drinking 91 ounces and have a 10 ounce reusable bottle, you’d get 9. Put 9 elastics on your water bottle at the start of the day. Every time you empty the bottle and refill it, take one of the elastics off. At the end of the day, you should have no elastics left on the bottle. Start again the next day.
With the proper amount of hydration, you can better reach your athletic potential. You’ll be reducing the likelihood of cramps, better able to cool your body, have more energy, and enjoy the ability to think more clearly and quickly.