After 18 months being trapped indoors, now is the perfect time for you and your children to join a sports team or club to get active and healthy before the winter sets in and we have to hunker back in our houses! This article can help you understand why hydration before, during and after sports is so critical for your well-being.
As many of us set out on our renewed quest to exercise, be healthy and participate in active and fun sports, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated.
Hydration is key when playing on a sports team and to staying healthy as it can boost your immune system and keep your body functioning effectively.
Outdoor activity and sports clubs for adults and children alike is a great way to put the fun into fitness – but it requires paying special attention to hydration.
As Brittany Wehrle, a performance dietitian with the Children’s Health℠ Andrews Institute Sports Performance powered by EXOS states: “Staying hydrated increases energy, improves movement, recovery and agility, thermoregulation, and aids in mental clarity and activity – all of which can improve physical performance and reduce the risk of injuries.”
Thus it is clear that when participating in sports hydration is absolutely vital!
Why do We need to Stay Hydrated while Participating in Sports?
“Almost every measurement of performance – aerobic endurance, strength, power, speed, agility and reaction time – decreases with as little as 2% dehydration,” explains Wehrle.
Around 60% of your body is water and it plays a vital role in every bodily function. You can lose a lot of fluid when you exercise – as much as a litre or two an hour – mainly through sweating and breathing. So you’ll need to drink more when you exercise.
When it’s warm, your body sweats more to help you cool down. And depending on the temperature, humidity, and the nature of your activity, you might not even realize how much you are perspiring.
Don’t rely on thirst alone to tell you how much you need to drink. To keep those muscles working and avoid fatigue; it’s extremely important to drink plenty of liquids before, during, and after the activity.
- Before: A good guideline to use when preparing for an sports workout, whether it’s tennis, football, rugby or badminton is to drink about two cups of fluid two hours before the activity. That helps make sure you are well-hydrated before you ever go outdoors. If you’re dehydrated before you start exercising: your core temperature will rise faster and your heart will have to work harder than usual. This will affect your performance and can even lead to heat stroke. Drinking enough will help you get the most out of your exercise session and feel good while you’re doing it.
- During: Then, during the activity, try to drink 4-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes to keep your muscles well-hydrated.
- After: Once all the hard work is over, no doubt you’ll be ready for something to drink. Not only will this be refreshing, but it will also restore your fluid levels and help your muscles to recover. The sooner you start to replace the fluid, the sooner you’ll recover.
For most outdoor activities, good old filtered water does the trick. If your activity lasts an hour or more, fruit juice diluted with filtered water will provide carbohydrates for energy plus minerals to replace lost electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) in your sweat.
If you don’t top this fluid back up, you can become dehydrated. This can affect both your general health and how well you can exercise. You’ll feel tired more quickly if you’re dehydrated, and you won’t be able to control your temperature as well as usual.
While drinking enough water may seem like a simple action, it impacts virtually every aspect of sports performance. Water helps fuel your muscles, so drinking before, during and after exercise will boost your energy levels, and may help to prevent cramp.
The Benefits of Being Well Hydrated when it comes to Sports:
- Hydration gives your body the energy and water it needs to function effectively. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re participating in a thrilling sports match but it’s important that your body gets enough water while it is working out. Otherwise you could suffer from dehydration symptoms such as: Sleepiness or fatigue, extreme thirst, headache, confusion, dizziness or light-headedness.
- You can suffer from heat stroke if you do not drink enough water while exercising. Hydration will prevent heat stroke and helps to regulate your body temperature. “Staying hydrated replaces the water lost through sweating and is essential for thermoregulation, helping to prevent cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” says Wehrle.
- Improved muscle function. Hydrated muscles function better than dehydrated muscles.
- Regulated blood pressure. Staying hydrated helps maintain blood pressure during exercise so your heart doesn’t work harder to maintain normal blood pressure.
- Improved circulation. Staying hydrated also improves blood flow and circulation and thus the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles. Good hydration also helps remove metabolic by-products and waste from muscles, while replacing the water that is lost through sweat.
- Effective hydration keeps you healthy by flushing out toxins! In order for your kidneys to function properly and removing waste from your body naturally, you need to be hydrated. Water transports nutrients and compounds in blood, gets rid of waste, and lubricates and cushions joints.
- Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, energy levels, cognition, and mood. Therefore to improve your mental and physical health it is clear that you need to be hydrated!
- Reduces injury risk. “Dehydration contributes to muscle fatigue, which can increase the risk for injury,” says Wehrle. Therefore, staying adequately hydrated can help reduce muscle fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.
Fluid needs vary based on activity, intensity, environmental conditions, body size of the athlete and training status. The more highly trained an athlete is, the more they will sweat and require more water.
To maintain optimal hydration throughout the day, young athletes should drink ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. To maintain peak performance during exercise, minimize water weight loss to no more than 2% of your body weight.
Wehrle encourages athletes to drink plenty of water in the hours leading up to practice. Continue taking four to six big gulps of water every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. After exercising, drink 24 ounces of water for every pound of water weight you lose during your workout.
Top tip! You should calculate your sweat rate!
Knowing an athlete’s sweat rate is important when monitoring hydration. Sweat rate is the amount or rate at which a person sweats. To calculate sweat rate, measure weight before and after a workout. The difference in the weight indicates how well the athlete is staying hydrated and whether it’s within the healthy guidelines. The weight difference plus any fluids consumed during workout equals the sweat rate. Understanding this number will guide the amount of fluid needed during the workouts or practices.
ZeroWater has the Best Tip to Stay Hydrated while Exercising! Invest in a Water Filter!
This is especially crucial when getting back into exercising by engaging in sporting activities.
Therefore to ensure your families health and hydration when taking part in post lockdown sport activities, we recommend you invest in a ZeroWater filter. You can choose from the wide variety of styles on our website. ZeroWater is here to ensure that you are hydrated and healthy when participating in sports!
At ZeroWater we have created the most advanced, affordable water filters on the market! All to make sure that you can be your optimal, healthy and hydrated self while exercising and taking part in sports clubs.
- You are more likely to be more hydrated if you have a water filter as your water will be purer tasting. Therefore you will be more likely to drink more water and consequently be well hydrated.
- You can take filtered water in a reusable water bottle wherever you want. You can take it to the gym, on a run, to drinking during a sports match or just to drink around the house.
- You will save money AND help save the planet by refilling a reusable water bottle with filtered water instead of constantly forking out for single use plastic water bottles on the go.
- Our 5 stage filter system is guaranteed to outperform any other simplistic 2 stage filter on the market such as Brita filters. So you get the most for your money with ZeroWater filters!
2 stage filters only contain Activated Carbon and Ion Exchange Resin, while our filters contain 3 other stages (a Coarse Filter Screen, a Foam Distributor and a Ultra-fine screen & non-woven membrane layers).
This means that these 2 stage filters only remove around half of all the dissolved solids in your water and therefore the taste will not be as pure as what ZeroWater filters can provide. You can read our previous article for a detailed explanation on how our Premium 5 Stage Ion Exchange water filters work!
When tested in accordance with the NSF’s protocol based on a 40 gallon filtration (double the rated usage), ZeroWater reduces 97% of Lead and 99.9% of Chromium from tap water. They are also third party tested to reduce 96% of Mercury, 93% of Arsenic and 99% of Copper, among many other contaminants!
So if your taking up a new sporting activity and want to ensure you’re optimally hydrated on your quest for fitness, ZeroWater is here for you. ZeroWater wants to offer you a helping hand on your hydration and health journey.