Hydration Basics for Hot Weather Practice

Share

Question: How much Gatorade should my son drink since he is beginning football practice next week? He is in middle school and we are having the hottest week of the year.
Answer: According to the Gatorade research department the day prior to the training or event is most important in being properly hydrated to prevent cramps or overheating. Considering the amount of water he will lose during conditioning he should drink about three quarts to a gallon of water each day before practice begins. Since practice for middle school is in the late afternoon during the day before practice, continue to drink water until the workouts begin. Then alternate water and Gatorade during practice. After practice, have additional 16 to 20 ounces of Gatorade, then return to drinking water. Gatorade research also determined that it’s not necessary for kids under 12 to drink Gatorade not because they don’t need electrolytes but because of the effect it may have on tooth decay. Soft drinks are not an alternative for water especially in young athletes so limit those. Remember, nearly 75% of our bodies are made of water and being only 2% to 3% dehydrated will affect an athlete’s performance by as much as 10%. That means, in performance terms, if you can run a 5 second 40 yards sprint, being dehydrated will limit you to running that same 40 in 5.5 seconds and it will feel like slow motion.
If you are working out alone and don’t have coaches or trainers looking out for you these are some of the signs of over-heating or dehydration: you may stop sweating during your training. You may feel light-headed, get tunnel vision or your vision gets blurry. If you aren’t properly hydrated you may experience muscle cramps while you are training, after training or late at night while you are sleeping. If you do get a cramp, it is usually in your thighs, hamstrings or calves and the best thing to do is to lightly stretch it out. It will be painful until you can get it to relax and may occur repeatedly. If you feel any of these symptoms while you are training get in the shade and cool off by drinking fluids and getting some of your gear off to allow the heat to escape. Get assistance quickly. Keep cool, be smart.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

Share