The picture above may not seem like a hockey picture to most but it is. The North American Roller Championship Hockey (NARCH) Westcoast Finals just finished in Irvine, CA. I was able to coach the 12U Huntington Beach Militia Gold team to a silver medal. I also won another silver medal myself while playing in the 40+ division for Team Kunnuk. As usual the California weather held true for a very hot and sunny week. My biggest concern for all the athletes was their hydration levels in this environment.
Water is very important for good health. We all know that. Most healthy adults need 3 liters of water per day. Some of that comes from the food we eat. The NATA recommends women drink 2 liters of water while men drink 2.5 liters. If you like math, try this: for every kilogram of bodyweight, you should drink 30 to 40 milliliters of water per day. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink as well. We don’t notice thirst until we lose 1-2% our bodyweight of water. The studies have shown there is significant decrease in athletic performance at 2% loss of water.
The best fluid to consume is water; however sports drinks have their benefits too because they combine fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrate. Here are some suggestions to help increase fluid intake at training or competition. Drink cool (~59F) fluids in hot weather and warm fluids in cold weather. Fluid temperature can affect your body’s ability to regulate heat and cold. Sodium is critical for optimal cellular rehydration and should be included in drinks when athletes do not have the opportunity to consume electrolytes naturally found in food. Flavored sport drinks taste better which stimulates drinking, and thus, may improve hydration.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration: Lack of concentration Early fatigue High perceived exertion in training Trouble tolerating heat Delayed recovery Muscle cramps
Optimal hydration supports daily training and recovery. Dehydration’s effects can take hours to days to recover. Athletes need to develop strategies to monitor and adapt their hydration plan to intensity, duration, and frequency of training, fitness level, and environmental conditions