With practice and games comes proper steps to staying safe. Helmets and pads? Check. Cleats? Check. Water? Water is an absolute must — and just as important as those shin guards.
At Aqua, we want everyone to know that hydration plays an important role for any type of fitness. Without proper hydration, you’re not able to perform at your peak, and if your kids play a sport, they can’t perform at their peak, either. So, we enlisted our friend Jesse Frank, Fitness Director and Vice President at UNITE Fitness, for some advice and we’re getting SOAKED in the idea of hydration. Check out these reasons why you should fill up your water bottle before heading to the soccer field, football field or gym:
1. 75 percent of your muscle is made of water, so drinking water before a workout will keep muscles from cramping. “Muscle cramping happens if there is a loss of electrolytes, so if you’re not properly hydrated before a workout, you run the risk of painful cramping. You should be highly hydrated before every workout,” says Frank.Ultimately, a hydrated body allows your performance to be better, faster and stronger. Especially when working out in mid-August through early September, when it can still be hot and humid in some parts of the U.S.
2. Did you know: although sports drinks are advertised as the best way to quench you or your child's thirst, water is still better to drink. Sports drinks contain about 10 teaspoons of sugar, causing blood sugar to drop and your body to crash. “Sports drinks have their place: when you’re competing at a high-level and in high heat,” Frank says. “Examples include marathons and half-marathons. Otherwise, water is the way to go.”
3. We talked about the importance of being hydrated before a workout (see #1), and now we’re going to talk about why it’s important to drink water during and after, too. In short, it helps your body in the recovery process. Water during a workout keeps your energy flow going. After is important because the water flushes out toxins so your muscles won’t go stiff and your organs can function properly.
4. How much water is needed to be hydrated properly? Well, it depends on who you are. “You should take half of your body weight in ounces,” Frank recommends. “If you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces. And that’s generally without a lot of activity.” So what if you do a lot of activity?Frank says, “If you workout and you sweat a lot, replenishing your water weight is very, very important.” Remember: water before, during and after make for an energized, cramp-free athlete!
5. Hungry, weak, fatigued: those do not sound like a way that anyone wants to feel. But, it’s how you can feel if you’re dehydrated, and your urine could be a clue as to whether or not you’re at that point. “Your urine should be clear or pale yellow. Dark yellow is a sign of dehydration,” Frank says. “Hunger, weakness, fatigue, loss of concentration — these are all signs of being dehydrated,” he explains.
Now that everyone is up to date with their water facts, remember that school sports — and working out — are about being healthy, having fun and staying safely hydrated. Frank and the Aqua team understand that water isn’t everyone’s favorite drink. “If it’s the taste of water that keeps you from being hydrated, you can always jazz up your water,” Frank says. Here’s an Aqua post with some ideas for doing just that: 5 Hacks That Make Drinking Water More Simple.