WATER! Plain water is the best way to replace all the water you lose during all sports and during all seasons. Cold water gets into the bloodstream and will cool you down faster.
Why do you get cramps when playing sports?
The most common cause of cramps is dehydration and not cold water.
What is dehydration?
When your body doesn’t have enough fluid to work properly, dehydration occurs. It is important for everyone to drink fluids or stay hydrated. Kids use more energy than adults during physical activity because they produce twice as much heat. If you do not replace the fluids, you will overheat. Many athletes are sent to the hospital for dehydration. Dehydration can affect your performance too!
How do you know if you are dehydrated?
If you are dehydrated, you may have signs such as dry mouth, headache, confusion, dizziness, weakness, faintness, and nausea.
How much fluid or water do you need?
You can’t wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids. You should be drinking fluids or water before, during, and after sports.Before Exercise: drink 2 cups of cold water 1 to 2 hours before activity
During Exercise: drink ½ cup of cold water every 15 minutes
After Exercise: drink 2 cups of cold water for every pound of weight loss
What about sports drinks?
Sports drinks contain water, sugar, salt and sometimes unnecessary vitamins. They may be helpful for sports that last one continuous hour or more or during extreme heat. Avoid drinks with caffeine, sugar or carbonation. These drinks lead to cavities and cause unnecessary weight gain. These drinks should contain no more than 15 to 18 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Fruit juice may only be used as a fluid replacement if it is diluted at least twofold: 1 cup water for every 1 cup of juice. Carbonated beverages, high-sugar drinks and undiluted fruit juice are too high in carbohydrates and may cause stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea
Other acceptable fluid choices are nonfat milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut water, 100% juice, and smoothies, but water is still the best choice of fluid.
Written by Susan Sheehy, RDN, LD