September 16, 2021
When it comes to success in athletic endeavors, there are so many important pieces to the puzzle. Often overlooked, especially when it comes to high school athletes, is the importance of fueling and hydrating properly. Performance hydration can make or break an athlete.
When you’re dehydrated, even by as little as 2-3%, your body is not able to perform the same or give the optimal output that it can when it is fully hydrated. When it comes to high school athletes, hydration status can be even more important. Studies have shown that dehydration levels of just 1% negatively affected endurance performance in boys aged 10-12 years old. Whether you’re trying to win a XC race, run to catch a touchdown, sprint down the basketball court for a layup, or swim faster than your opponents in the 100 yard freestyle, being properly hydrated matters.
How to Know if You’re Properly Hydrated
Tips to Ensure Proper Hydration Status
Knowing when to drink before, during, and after an event is important. Below, I have listed some generalized recommendations which serve as a good starting point to help a high school athlete avoid dehydration. Since all athletes and sports are different, it can be helpful to work with a registered dietitian to really individualize the recommendations for optimal performance. Also imperative is making sure that an athlete experiments with the hydration schedule during practice.
|BEFORE exercise||2-3 hours before: 16 ounces |
15 minutes before: 8 ounces
|DURING exercise||Every 15-20 mins: 4 ounces (2-3 large gulps)|
|AFTER exercise||16-20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost|
Consequences of Dehydration
As I noted earlier, performance declines with every little decrease in body weight from water loss. In addition, there are several other possible negative outcomes of dehydration:
Takeaway Tip: Keep it Hydrated!