Why You Should Drink Before You are Thirsty

By: Jay D. Rehrig, LAT, ATC, ITAT   August 15, 2017
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Regardless of your activity level it’s important to stay hydrated. However, hydration is especially important to athletes and can help you perform at your highest level. Many athletes, especially high-school athletes, forget about drinking until they are thirsty and by then it may be too late.

In order to stay properly hydrated, you need to get the right amount of water throughout your workout. Water not only regulates your body temperature, but also helps to lubricate your joints. It also helps to carry nutrients that give you energy and keep you healthy. 

Some symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, dry mouth, lack of sweating and dizziness. Severe dehydration can lead to more serious health complications as well. 

There’s no rule as to how much you should drink in order to stay hydrated. The American Council on Exercise suggests the following:

  • 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours of water prior to exercise
  • 8 ounces of water 20-30 minutes before exercise
  • 7-10 ounces of water for every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
  • Drink 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes of exercise. 

I always tell my athletes that water is the best thing to drink, but I also suggest cutting a sports drink with gatorade with water. Sports drinks contain calories and potassium that could be helpful if you are planning to perform at a high intensity for any length of time. However, choose your drinks wisely because they could also be high in sugar and calories. 

If you are going to be exercising, keeping yourself hydrated will not only keep you safe, but also improve your performance. If you experience any of the symptoms of dehydration, make sure you see your athletic trainer or physician right away. 

 

 

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