Students are susceptible to poor hydration or dehydration whether they are participating in gym class or a competitive tennis match. Regardless of the type of activity, it is important for athletes of any kind to stay hydrated throughout the day to stay healthy and maximize performance.
Proper hydration should always start before an activity. Regularly drinking water or other non-caffeinated beverages is a requirement for proper hydration every day, not just game day. During exercise, students should drink 6-8 ounces every 15 minutes depending on personal tolerance (one gulp equals about one ounce). After exercise, they should drink 16-20 ounces for every pound of body weight lost.
Stay hydrated before, during and after exercise by following these tips:
• Drink early and often
• Practice drinking during training to make it a habit during a competition
• Drink by schedule, not by thirst
• Drink to rehydrate after an activity, then drink more
• Know the warning signs of dehydration (fatigue, lightheadedness, headache, dark urine, dry mouth)
• Choose the right drink. For light to moderate activities, drink water. For strenuous exercise over 90 minutes in duration, choose a sports drink.
Staying properly hydrated has many benefits. Not only will students perform better, but they will enjoy a number of other benefits including lower heart rate, higher cardiac output, lower core temperature, and lower perceived exertion.