The athlete’s in Florida combat a huge illness every year and they do not even recognize it. Dehydration plays a huge role not just in an athlete’s health but also in their play on the field and their athletic Performance.
How Does Dehydration Happen?
In order to understand how dehydration can affect an athlete’s performance, one must understand how dehydration affects their health. When your body starts to lose water, it tries to conserve the water is has by making urine more concentrated. The body also makes you feel thirsty trying to key the athlete in that they are dehydrated.
If the body does not get the water it needs, the blood becomes thick essentially. The blood vessels constrict to try and send more blood to the vital organs: heart, lungs, brain. If an athlete becomes severely dehydrated, they start to get confused and disoriented because there is not enough blood flow to the brain.
The Effects of Dehydration
Being dehydrated, causes the blood to be forced away from the muscles. Add that on top of decreased blood flow to the brain and heart, an athlete’s play becomes clumsy, they are not as focused, their heart is working harder to maintain the level play.
Being dehydrated decreases an athlete’s performance by up to 30%. That 30% is the difference between the winning and losing play. It is the difference between the athlete that can last the whole game or that athlete that is done in the third quarter.
How much Do I need to Drink?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that females drink an average of 2.7 liters of water per day and males drink 3.7 liters per day. This does not include any activities done in the sun. So for a female that’s around eleven eight-ounce glasses of water a day. For a male that is around fifteen glasses of water a day.
Imagine if you will the level of dehydration an athlete will suffer during a 2-2.5 hour practice outside in a florida summer day where the Temperature reaches 97 Degrees, and the Humidity is at 90%. The affects on an a players athletic performance can be devastating if not adequately hydrated before play or practice, and if not re-hydrated post-practice.
No Water is Not an Option
You need to make sure your athlete drinks water, not soda, not juice, water; to maintain their health and also keep their athletic performance up to par. NFL players receive IV fluids on the sideline for a reason, however that is not offered at a high school or even college level.
So to keep hydrated each and every day is even more important now than ever before.