With the summer months come plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, tournament sports, and so much more. Many of you will also be traveling considerable distances to play your favorite sports against the competition. Although this is wonderful, differences in temperature and humidity will often require you to adapt. With that in mind, this article is dedicated to keeping you safe and performing optimally in the heat. Here are some important tips for hydration:
1.TRAVELINGIf you are traveling by plane you are going to want to start drinking lots of fluids before you even get on the aircraft. There is no humidity on the inside of a plane and you will leave the plane feeling a little dehydrated if you don’t drink plenty of fluids prior to getting on the plane and while you are on the plane. I personally drink lots of water the night before a big trip.
2. KNOW HOW MUCH TO DRINKDrink 400 to 600 ml of water a half hour prior to activity. You need to start to hydrate before you actually engage in any activities, otherwise you might be starting out dehydrated (particularly if your games/activities are in the morning).
3. KNOW WHEN TO DRINKHave lots of fluid during the early stages of practice and competition. You will absorb water better during this time.
4. ELECTROLYTESAfter an hour of relatively intense activity, you will NEED electrolytes. At that point in time, you need to replace the minerals you have lost through sweat. If you are a heavy sweater, or you lose a lot of salt when you sweat (i.e. you get white marks all over your shirts after engaging in intense activity). Pick ONLY a high quality electrolyte like Ultima Replenisher. Many low-quality sports drinks are essentially high fructose corn syrup and dyes and are not advisable for optimal performance.
5. KNOW WHAT TO AVOIDStay away from caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and can actually dehydrate you. I once had an athlete (who currently has a scholarship to a high level Divison I program) who consumed sports drinks all day during a tournament and ended up in the hospital with heat exhaustion. How? The sports drink contained stimulants and herbs that were not labeled and she was basically ingesting massive amounts of caffeine the whole time. Stay away from ANY products where you don't know the ingredients. If you are a collegiate athlete, some of the herbs in these products can even make you test positive for drugs in a typical NCAA screening. Stick with the natural ingredients in Ultima Replenisher.
6. FUN AND GAMESKeep in mind that even when you are swimming, you still need to hydrate. Many people get sick at pool parties because they don't feel hot when spending all that time in the pool, yet they are not putting fluids inside the body. This can be compounded if you are old enough to have alcoholic beverages, since these are also dehydrating. Follow these simple tips to have a safe summer and perform your best! Julianne Soviero is an athletic performance consultant, speaker, certified hypnotist, and author of the award-winning book, Unleash Your True Athletic Potential. She has helped hundreds of athletes to achieve their very best through her "triple threat" method: integrating nutrition, mechanics, and mindset for perfect performance. Visit www.trueathleticpotential.com for more details. Here is a clip of Julianne speaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OUArtrRXXo