Why is hydration of importance for athletes?
One of the major performance obstacles for an athlete is dehydration (body water loss) or trying to maintain a good state of hydration. Dehydration occurs in the athlete when sweat loss exceeds fluid intake. Sweat helps to cool the body. When a person sweats, not only does the body lose water but also electrolytes, the minerals that support physiological functions. The human body’s main component is water which accounts for 73% of lean body mass. As little as 2% loss of body water negatively affects athletic performance and body functions. The athlete may not even feel thirsty after losing this amount of body water. By the time the athlete becomes thirsty, the body is already in an under-hydrated state. Further loss of body water greater than 3 % puts an athlete at risk for developing a heat-related illness (heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke). Some school athletic organizations are so concerned about maintaining student wrestlers’ hydration status that they have instituted pre-event hydration assessments. An example of such an assessment can be found at:
What steps can an athlete Take For Prevention of Dehydration?
- Start drinking an oral electrolyte solution such as PediaVance® 2 to 3 hours before exercising or a sporting event
- Drink PediaVance® 10 to 20 minutes before exercising or the event
- When exercising for less than one hour or when participating in a low intensity sporting event, carry a bottle of PediaVance® and sip frequently
- When exercising for an hour in a high intensity sporting event, check with a trainer regarding use of an appropriate sports beverages rather than an oral rehydration product like PediaVance®. Sports beverages have a much higher carbohydrate load than oral electrolyte solutions to rapidly replenish glycogen (energy stored in muscles) stores used during strenuous activities
- Continue drinking PediaVance® within 2 hours after exercising or a sporting event to correct fluid losses
- Any beverage, such as PediaVance®, should be cool and not cold or iced
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and soda
Why can’t just plain water be used?
For the casual athlete involved in low-intensity activities for less than one hour, water can usually help to meet the person’s needs to prevent dehydration. For the athlete involved in activities beyond one hour in duration or in activities causing the person to sweat, in addition to water needs, loss of electrolytes should also be taken into account.
PediaVance® contains water to restore hydration status, electrolytes to help the body’s physiological functions, and some carbohydrate to help the body absorb water and to restore glycogen stores that may be somewhat depleted.
The electrolytes in PediaVance®, especially the sodium content, help to stimulate thirst in the athlete, enhance the palatability of the beverage, aid in body water retention, and prevent hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels which interfere with body functions).
PediaVance® contains a carbohydrate blend of dextrose (glucose) and fructose, the blend recommended by athletic trainers for quick absorption of water in the intestinal tract to help restore the body’s water losses. The carbohydrate in PediaVance® also helps to enhance the pleasant flavor of the solution.
What happens to the body during dehydration?
- Body temperature increases
- Heart rate increases
- Blood flow to the skin decreases
- Muscle recovery is slowed
- Mental functioning is impaired
Dehydration can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or death if treatment is not immediately provided.
How much PediaVance® needs to be consumed by an athlete?
To enter into an athletic event well hydrated, drink about 18 ounces of PediaVance® 2 to 3 hours prior to the event and about 8 ounces 10 to 20 minutes before the event. Try to drink 8 ounces of PediaVance® every 15 to 20 minutes if you are sweating or if the temperature is very hot and humid. PediaVance® will help to replace sweat losses and will also help cool down the body’s internal temperature. Post-event, sip on PediaVance® until pre-event body weight is reached. A rule of thumb is to gradually drink 3 eight-ounce glasses for every pound of body weight lost during the exercise or event. The goal is to return to pre-event body weight within 24 hours.