Hydration Tips for Athletes

Hydration Tips for Athletes

Everyone learns from an early age that hydration is essential, but it can be hard to drink our recommended amount of water each day. For athletes in particular, because they expel so much water through sweat, rehydration is vital. Rehydration is the process of restoring the water you lose from sweating and urinating, and drinking water isn’t necessarily the only way to rehydrate. 

Only drinking water after exercising might not be enough, as we lose more than fluids when we sweat. You also need to replenish things like electrolytes, the minerals in your blood that escape your body through sweat when you exercise. Check out these hydration tips for athletes to keep your body healthy and strong after your workout or game.

Hydration in Sport Performance

Drinking enough fluids is an essential part of reaching your peak athletic performance. If you’re going to be expending energy and sweating, you have to make sure you are adequately hydrated or you could risk dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Intense thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Sleepiness
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Sweating or urinating less than usual

Dehydration can lead to decreases in athletic performance due to the physiological consequences of not getting enough fluids. Since the human body contains about 60% water, losing fluids without replenishing them can lead to decreases in blood circulation. Lower circulation means muscles get less oxygen than they need and exhaustion sets in more quickly. In extreme cases, dehydration can be deadly. 

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

The main reason athletes suffer from dehydration is because they don’t replenish the fluids they expel or they only drink when they’re thirsty. To maintain peak athletic performance, athletes should be hydrating before, during and after physical activity. Though thirst is a sign of dehydration, it should not be the only indicator that your body needs fluids — sticking to a consistent hydration regimen can stave off dehydration and keep you performing at your peak.

Hydration Tips for Athletes

Hydration Tips for Athletes

Athletes are pros at control and discipline, but hydrating can often be an afterthought when you’re in the zone. These tips can help make hydration a seamless part of your workout or practice rituals.

1. Hydrate With Foods

One of the easiest ways to hydrate is through the food you eat. In addition to drinking, our body can absorb water from what we eat. Fruits and vegetables can be a great source of water and essential vitamins. The most hydrating fruits and veggies are:

  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Celery

Incorporate hydrating foods throughout your day, along with enough water, to ensure you reach your daily target. Wake up with a bowl of strawberries, have a cucumber or celery snack midday and enjoy a salad with dinner to get great hydration from your meals.

2. Monitor Fluid Loss After Workouts

If you notice you’ve lost weight right after your workout, this is almost always due to losing “water weight” because you expel fluids as you exercise. Everyone has different hydration needs, so monitoring your fluid loss after workouts can be a great way to determine how much fluid you need to replenish your body. If you find you sweat more than the average person or it’s a particularly warm day, go ahead and increase your hydration target to keep up with your body’s demand.

3. Make It a Competition or Game

This tip is great for teams, friends who work out together and young athletes. Establish an amount of water each person should consume — it may be different for everyone — and have daily check-ins to ensure each person reaches their hydration goal. Set a weekly or monthly prize for the person who reaches their goal every day. Athletes are competitive by nature, so this method is a great way to ensure athletes maintain their fluid levels.

4. Use an App or Water Bottle That Tracks Intake

Keep up with your hydration with an app or water bottle that tracks your progress. Apps like Water Minder and Hydro Coach can help you set drinking goals and remind you to drink with notifications sent straight to your phone. Carrying a water bottle around that tracks how much you drink is another great tip. Some bottles include markers that track your progress, some with encouraging phrases like “way to go” or “keep drinking” to motivate you. 

5. Skip the Sugary Sports Drinks

While sports drinks might market themselves as some of the best ways for athletes to stay hydrated, they often don’t have sufficient electrolytes to truly replenish what you expel. They also contain a lot of sugar in most cases, which can exacerbate dehydration. For a truly replenishing drink, try drinks specially formulated to include the five key electrolytes — sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium

6. Have a Salty Post-Workout Snack

You’ll notice sodium and chloride are essential electrolytes — if you remember your chemistry, you’ll recognize sodium chloride as salt. While salt has a bad rap, it’s actually essential in helping your cells absorb water. If you feel gritty after sweating, that’s actually the salt that leaves your body when you sweat. Having a salty post-workout snack can help replenish the salty electrolytes you lose through your sweat. Just make sure you’re still consuming salt in moderation.

7. Get IV Therapy

When your body feels drained from giving 110% on your workouts, even regular hydration may not be enough. That’s where intravenous (IV) therapy can help replenish and restore your body. Intravenous therapy delivers fluids, medications or nutrition directly into your veins. This process means nutrients enter your bloodstream quickly, leading to almost instantaneous relief from many symptoms and conditions, like dehydration and fatigue.

Hydration Plan for Athletes

Hydration isn’t just for the practice field or gym — it’s an essential part of your everyday life. Establishing and sticking to a hydration plan using these tips will ensure your body and mind are functioning at their peak. In addition to staving off dehydration in athletes, there are numerous general health benefits to staying hydrated, including:

  • Regulating your body temperature
  • Lubricating your joints
  • Improving sleep and cognition
  • Preventing and fighting infections

Starting your morning with a glass of water and continuing to hydrate throughout the day is a good general rule for all, but athletes may need more water than the average person. That’s why monitoring and tracking water depletion and consumption can help athletes work at their peak performance.

AREAS WE SERVE

Instantly Rehydrate With Mobile IV Medics IV Hydration

Instantly Rehydrate With Mobile IV Medics IV Hydration

For a quick, safe and effective way to instantly rehydrate your body, try the Mobile IV Medics IV Hydration drip. Mobile IV Medics has a fast and easy online booking process, and best of all, we’ll come to you! If you’re feeling dehydrated, you don’t want to get in your car and drive somewhere, which is why Mobile IV Medics brings healing hydration right to you. 

We offer IV Hydration Package Add-Ins like vitamins B12, C and D to individualize and enhance your treatments. Complete our easy online booking process to schedule a visit from one of our nurses and get immediate results. 

About the author

Brad
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D.

Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D. is a licensed pharmacist and co-owner of Mobile IV Medics. With over 16 years of healthcare experience, Brad is bringing his expertise and passion for patient care to the Mobile IV Medics patient population. Prior to Mobile IV Medics, Brad worked in varying areas including both direct patient care and hospital leadership at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, nationwide health system pharmacy consulting for Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), and professor of pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy. He holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Arizona, a pharmacy practice residency from USC, and a lean six sigma green belt from Johns Hopkins.