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Hydration Policy

Hydration Information for Athletes, Parents and Coaches

We believe that proper hydration is especially important during exercise. Adequate fluid intake for athletes is essential to comfort, performance, and safety. Our goal is to ameliorate awareness of the importance of good hydration – and risk of dehydration – among coaches, parents, and student/athletes.

CAUSES

Athletes need to stay hydrated for optimal performance. Studies have found that a loss of two or more percent of one’s body weight due to sweating is linked to a drop in blood volume. When this occurs, the heart works harder to move blood through the bloodstream.

  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Excessive sweating
  • Failure to replace fluid losses during and after exercise
  • Exercising in dry, hot weather
  • Drinking ONLY when thirsty

THINGS THAT AFFECT FLUID LOSS IN ATHLETES

  • Temperature – Exercising in the heat increases your fluid losses through sweating, and exercise in the cold can impair your ability to recognize fluid lost through respiration. In both cases it is important to hydrate.
  • Sweating – Some athletes sweat more than others. If you sweat a lot you are greater risk for dehydration. Again, weigh yourself before and after exercise to judge sweat loss.
  • Exercise Duration and Intensity – Exercising for hours means you need to drink more, and more frequently to avoid dehydration.
  • High Altitude – Exercising at altitude increases your fluid losses and therefore increases your fluid needs.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

If you observe any of the following symptoms, and/or are feeling any symptom listed below, you could be suffering from dehydration/fluid loss.

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion/Disorientation
  • Thirst
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Irritibility
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Cramps

PREVENTION

Because there is a wide variability in sweat rates, losses and hydration levels of individuals, it is nearly impossible to provide specific recommendation or guidelines about the type or amount of fluids athletes should consume. Finding out the right amount of fluid to drink depends upon a variety of exercise and other individual differences. However, there are two simple methods of estimating adequate hydration:

1. Monitoring urine volume output and color. A large amount of light-colored, diluted urine means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated and suffering from fluid loss.

2. Weighing yourself before and after exercise. Any weight loss is likely from fluid, so try to drink enough to replenish those losses. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

GOOD                                 BAD

Sports Drinks                      Soda

Water                                  Tea

Enhanced Water                 Coffee Drinks

                                            Energy Drinks

GUIDELINES

1. Athletes will be educated by their coach regarding proper hydration.

2. Coaches will allocate time during practice to replenish lost fluids.

3. Water will be available during practice at all times.

4. A range of healthy drinks will be made available in vending machines around campus.

5. Drink before, and after exercise.

Source: About.Com Sports Medicine