By Jonathan Hutcherson
Whether you’re a professional athlete or a gym rat, it’s essential to stay hydrated. We have all experienced the effects of dehydration. Too many times I see athletes performance drop because of this.
Proper hydration does not start once we are thirsty or sweating because then it is most likely too late. Hydrating our bodies should start once we wake up. Our bodies become dehydrated while sleeping and we must replenish these levels. A simple way to check your hydration is to look at your urine. A colorless to light yellow color is ideal.
Water has many purposes not only for our body, but for athletic success. During these hot summer days, drinking water will help regulate our body temperature. Water also acts as a natural lubricant for our joints. Inadequate hydration can lead to muscle fatigue and cramping which will hamper our performance. Dehydration over long periods of time can also lead to more serious problems in our bodies.
What about sports drinks? For most people water is enough. Yet, if you’re working out and practicing daily then these drinks are a good alternative. Gatorade and Pedialyte are two great alternatives to replenish your body during intense training. These drinks have electrolytes like calcium, potassium and sodium that your body needs. These drinks will help you perform for longer periods of time.
We must be careful when and how much we drink these though. Many of these drinks have added calories from high levels of sugar which will not help with hydration. Picking and choosing the right time to drink alternatives to water is just as important to our bodies. So the next time you are searching for a beverage, drop the soda and drink some water!
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