The Heat is here & the Courts are already getting over 100 degrees some days – STAY HYDRATED!
Dehydration Affects Performance:
Dehydration of 1-2% of your body weight begins to significantly affect some of your body’s functions and negatively affects performance. (So if you normally weigh 150 pounds, which calculates to a loss of 1.5-3.0 pounds of fluids. Keep in mind, a cup of water weighs a little over half a pound.) A 3% loss of body weight increases the risk of developing heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. These levels of dehydration are common in sports, including a 1-2.5 liter per hour fluid loss in tennis.
Many athletes start an event already dehydrated. When this happens you may experience the effects of dehydration rapidly. A common scenario for dehydration in tennis: Playing a match earlier in the day and not completely rehydrating before playing again that same day.
Our body’s systems are very interrelated — one system affects another. In particular, dehydration affects our cardiovascular system. The heart rate raises 3-5 beats for every 1% of body weight lost! In the heat, heart rate goes up even more. The reduction in body fluids also affects the heart stroke volume (the amount of body fluids we pump through our body). Performance implications include decreases in muscle strength and endurance, aerobic power, physical work capacity, and increased fatigue. There are also psychological effects such as decreased time to exhaustion, feelings of exertion and impaired mental functions.
Once you begin feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. As dehydration progresses you may have a headache, grow irritable, begin to make errors in judgment, feel apathetic, confused, weak, experience decreased performance, dizziness or muscle twinges. In advanced stages you may experience heat sensations on the head and neck, chills, nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps or dyspnea (shortness of breath).
- Drink water, juice, milk, or sports drinks throughout the day. Avoid alcohol & excessive caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks).
- Drink regularly during practice and warm-up.
- Check your urine: it should be light-colored or clear. If you need frequent bathroom breaks to urinate (every 45 minute) you may be drinking too much.
- Drink at each changeover. Adults and older adolescents can comfortably drink 48 ounces per hour to prevent significant fluid deficits.
- Weigh yourself before and after play. Drink about 150% of any remaining fluid deficit to rehydrate yourself.
- If you are prone to heat-related muscle cramps, add Sea Salt to your diet. This will help your body retain fluid.
A 1-2.5 liter per hour sweat loss in tennis is common. To become rehydrated, it is not enough to drink plain water. Water does not contain the electrolytes our bodies lose through sweat. The electrolytes sodium and chloride are necessary for proper body function and can prevent heat-induced muscle cramps. Adding potassium to your diet (for example, by eating bananas) will not prevent or resolve heat-related muscle cramps.
There are so many individual differences that it is hard to generalize a rehydration plan that will work for every tennis player. Players sweat at varying rates under the same conditions – in part, due to a difference in individual genetics. Environmental conditions (temperature), length, frequency and intensity of play and how acclimatized you are should all be incorporated into your rehydration plan.
Our favorite hydration method is:
#1. High Quality Filtered Water with a High Quality Electrolyte Mix.
And when I can’t do that -
#2. Sports Drinks that DO NOT have artificial sweetners, high sugars, or Corn Syrup AND cut them at least by 1/3 with High Quality Filtered Water.
Never drink non-filtered water or use non-filtered Ice, the chemicals founds in the local water supplies reeks havoc on your hydration.
God Bless – have a GREAT Summer and as always let me know if there is ever anything I can do to help.