Athletic Training Corner - September 2011

Welcome to the Athletic Training Corner. Here you will find information on pertinent topics related to athletic injuries and/or performance. This information is updated monthly by Thompson Health's athletic training staff.

Each month’s topic will be relevant to the types of sports going on at the time. You can read the topic here or download a copy and share it.

September 2011

Important Guidelines for Coaches

  • Make it your policy that water be available during practices.  Make sure to take frequent water breaks, especially on days that are hot and humid. 
  • Know the signs and symptoms of dehydration:
    • Thirst
    • Dry mouth
    • Headaches or lightheadedness
    • Fatigue or weakness
    • Muscle cramps
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Flushing (red) skin
    • Dry skin (sweating stops)
    • Rapid breathing
    • Increased heart rate
    • Dark yellow (concentrated) urine
    • Decreased performance

Studies have found that when athletes lose as little as 2% of their body weight through sweating that the heart must work harder to circulate blood.

Common Causes of Dehydration
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Failure to replace fluid lost during and after exercise
  • Exercising in dry, hot weather
  • Drinking only when thirsty

General Fluid Requirements
  • Fluids should be cold (50-59 F), palatable and selected based on the type and duration of the activity.
  • Sports drinks should contain 4-8% carbohydrate.  Drinks greater than 10% may slow stomach emptying, causing abdominal cramping and impaired performance
  • Drinks with a combination of glucose, glucose polymers, and fructose may enhance water absorption
  • Solutions containing primarily fructose can cause an upset stomach and should be avoided.

Pre Exercise Hydration 
  • Consume about 16-24 fl oz of water or a sports drink 2 to 3 hours before exercise and 7-10 fl oz of water or a sports drink 10-20 minutes before exercise.
  • On warm and humid days, drink an additional 8-16 oz 30-60 minutes before activity
  • Water is adequate for activities less than an hour as long as meals are consumed regularly. 
  • For endurance events, training sessions longer than 60 minutes, or multiple practices a day, choose a sports drink containing 4-8% carbohydrate. 
  • For morning workouts, a liquid meal replacement can be consumed 10-40 minutes before activity because it can be rapidly digested.

During Exercise Hydration
  • 3-6 fl oz of water or sports drink every 15 minutes, or about 32 oz an hour. 
  • Fluid should approximate the amount of fluid loss during exercise
  • Maintaining hydration can be difficult in athletes with high sweat rates, in sports with limited fluid access, and during high-intensity exercises.

Post Exercise Hydration
  • Immediately after activity, drink at least 16-20 oz of fluid for every pound of weight loss. 
  • Should aim to correct any fluid loss accumulated during the practice or event.
  • Rehydration should contain water to restore hydration status, carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores, and electrolytes to speed rehydration. 
  • Eating a post-activity meal or snack will help with fluid and sodium losses.
  • Drink an additional 16 oz with your post workout meal.  This should be eaten within 2 hours of activity.
  • Weigh yourself each morning.  This will help you to determine if you are properly hydrated.

Caffeine Consumption
  • Small amounts of caffeine can help boost energy levels and increase endurance.
  • Large quantities of caffeine can have adverse effects on athletic performance including anxiety, insomnia, headaches, dehydration and loss of calcium. 
  • Caffeine intake should be limited to 200-300 mg/day (2 cups of coffee)

Two good ways to tell if you are hydrated:
  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise.  Any weight loss is likely from fluid, so try to drink enough to get back to your pre-exercise weight.
  • Monitor urine volume output and color.  A large amount of light colored urine probably means you are well hydrated

Am I hydrated?
Urine Color Chart

This urine color chart is a simple tool you can use to assess if you are drinking enough fluids throughout day to stay hydrated.

If your urine matches to the colors numbered 1, 2, or 3 you are hydrated.

If your urine matches the color numbered 4 through 8 you are dehydrated and need to drink for more fluid.

Be aware if you are taking single vitamin supplements or a multivitamin supplement, some of the vitamins in the supplements can change the color of your urine for a few hours, making it bright yellow or discolored.

If you are taking a vitamin supplement, you may need to check your hydration status using another tool.