Ten Tips to Avoid Dehydration and Heat Illness:
Thirst is a poor predictor of dehydration
You are already at least 5% dehydrated when the sensation for thirst develops.
Know the dehydration warning signs
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include dark or concentrated urine, cramps, dizziness, headache, decreased performance and loss of coordination. Extreme symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, elevated temperature, unconsciousness and even death may occur if warning signs are ignored.
Fluids must be within arms reach
Water and sports drinks should always be available at team meetings, pre and post practice and during travel.
Drink before, during and after
Athletes should consume 16 oz of water or sport drink 2-3 hours before activity and 8 oz after warm-up. During exercise, 8 oz of fluid should be ingested for every 15 minutes of exercise.
Watch for the salty sweater & muscle cramps
Some athletes will have salt encrusted clothing after strenuous exercise. These athletes should always drink a sport drink to prevent cramping. Salty foods such as taco chips or pretzels should be available for snacks.
Dress for the weather
Wear lighter colored clothing to avoid radiant heat effects. Consider removing excess equipment or clothing during conditioning.
Exercise in the morning or evening
Avoid direct sunlight.
Allow for breaks
During warmer weather allow for frequent fluid breaks in a shaded area. Have cooling fans and/or icy wet towels that can be placed over a player’s neck and head during breaks.
Chart weight pre and post practice
Encourage 20-24 oz of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
Watch Urine Colors
Darker urine may be a sign of low hydration levels