Keep a water bottle with you and drink from it regularly.SHIRZAD CHUNARA
As the Jubilee Games approaches, Ismaili athletes around the world are spending countless hours training. But underestimating sweat loss and not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and serious side effects.
Last summer, Ashif, a university athlete, decided to push himself beyond his normal best and train for a tough new challenge. He upped his daily routine, putting in extra hours of practice and exceeding his normal workout intensity. Within hours his body was hurting all over.
Ashif accepted the pain as a reaction to the heavy workouts, but he also noticed other symptoms. Within a few days, he had constant dry mouth. He was constipated and his heart rate was higher than normal. His nights were sleepless, he was irritable and he was suffering from muscle cramps. It seemed as though all the extra workouts were causing him more harm than good.
But while Ashif had intensified his workout, he had not increased his fluid intake. He had failed to account for the strain of his extra exercise, and the resulting fluid deficit was wreaking havoc with his body. When fellow athlete Salimah pointed out that he was dehydrated, Ashif started taking extra fluids to make up for the deficit, and within a couple of days, he was back to his normal energetic self.
Why is hydration so important?
Tips for staying hydrated
» Keep a water bottle with you during the entire day and drink from it regularly. “Your brain is made up of mostly water, so staying hydrated will help you to perform at your peak,” says Arif Nathoo, a former women’s volleyball coach and Athletics Hall of Fame inductee at Ryerson University. “Use a reusable water bottle that has measurements on the outside of the bottle so you can track your intake.”
» For some, drinking fluids on a schedule — such as at breakfast, lunch and dinner, or at every hour — is a great way to ensure that they remain hydrated. Add a slice of lemon or lime to vary the flavour if necessary.
» To maintain optimal hydration, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 16 – 20 ounces (500 – 750 milliliters) of fluids in the two hours before starting exercise, another 4 – 8 ounces (125 – 250 milliliters) should be taken in every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise, and afterwards, 24 ounces (1000 milliliters) should be drunk for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
» Leslie Bonci, author and sports dietitian to several professional and college sports teams, tells athletes that when it’s time to cool off they shouldn’t rely only on pouring water on their heads — fluid has to get in the body as well. She also recommends gulping rather than sipping water during an activity, which promotes emptying of the stomach.
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