Holiday and Sports – often time they go hand in hand because we are at home with the family, and what better way to make room for the holiday feast than working out before sitting down with the fam. This blog is all about the importance of water while working out.
Water is precious, and water is essential for everybody’s well-being. Kids should not wait until they are thirsty to drink. The same goes for adults. You should have heard that we should all drink eight-ounce glasses of water every day – especially during the holiday season when you are eating more than usual.
Players require more (around ten glasses, unless they are very young). Most athletes do not drink enough. Dehydration is a common problem for athletes and weekend warriors. This is made worse when a player is wearing heavy clothing and pads such as in football. The heavy clothing does not let the heat disperse and also causes increased sweating. Hard training will increase sweating, and all these factor make for fluid loss and can lead to dehydration, which means the body has lost body fluid and needs water!
Coaches must allow the athletes the opportunity to drink. The young athlete should drink water before, during, and after practice and a game. Holiday runners, flag football teams, family beach volleyball packs – all of you should have water on the sideline to “refill the tank”. If a practice or training session or the exercise on the beach or in your backyard is less than one hour, water is the drink of choice. Otherwise, a sports drink can be useful, but avoid caffeine, stimulants, excess sugar, and carbonation.
As tempting as it is to grab one of those fancy “sports” drinks, you really just need water. The athlete must drink more fluid than the average person. Water will do just as nicely as fluid replacements. The concentrations of sugar and electrolytes in sports drinks can slow down absorption in many cases. However, if the drink has a pleasant taste, the athlete will drink more fluid, and the sports drink may come in handy.
The temperatures have been pretty moderate for SoCal, however, every athlete should never forget to sip the fluid regularly while sweating with your favorite uncle in a pick up basketball game or running down your brother in a scrimmage game. Carbonated drinks will cause gas to form in the intestines, and this will slightly delay absorption. Keep in mind that the thirst mechanism is not directly proportional and timed with dehydration. If an athlete waits to drink until he or she is thirsty, then the athlete is already dehydrated. Everyone usually will try to play catch up with regard to fluid intake and will fail to do so.
Hot weather problems to avoid
Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that occur during exercise in a hot environment. The cramps are usually felt in the calves, thighs, abdomen, or shoulders. This player should be taken into the shade or air conditioning and allowed to sip water and cool down before being sent home.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is not able to maintain normal functions because of the excessive loss of body fluids and salts. In effect, the body is trying to protect itself from a greater rise in body temperature. The symptoms include heavy sweating, intense thirst, dizziness, nausea, and a weak or rapid pulse. At this point, the athlete needs IV fluids. An electrolyte sports drink may help.
Heat Stroke is a life-threatening emergency. It is the result of the body’s inability to regulate its core temperature. As the body’s water and salt supplies dwindle, its temperature rises to extreme levels. The symptoms include a body temperature above 104 degrees, disorientation, confusion, or coma. The skin may be hot and dry or sweaty. Time to call 911 for an ambulance!
Let’s hope that nobody who is reading this blog will have to suffer the consequences of heat stroke over the holiday season. Instead, go out there and have fun with your family. It’s a good thing to be prepared when you run, throw, slide all over the place while having recreational fun with your loved ones. Happy Holiday Season to all of you, and a Happy and healthy New Year!
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