How athletes can stay hydrated during hot weather
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - With schools adjusting practice schedules due to the heat, athletic trainers are suggesting extra ways to remain hydrated through practices and games.
One tactic trainers use for hydration is pushing athletes to replace electrolytes while simultaneously hydrating.
“When you are doing physical activity, you tend to sweat a lot, but if it’s a hot day, it tends to make you sweat more, and a lot of times that sweat includes electrolytes, like sodium, potassium, chloride. These are really important electrolytes in our body, so in order to make sure we are replenishing those, we need to be drinking more than just water,” said UK Football Performance Dietician Devin Haygood.
Gatorade, a popular electrolyte replenisher, originated due to a University of Florida Football coach’s efforts to best replace the bodily fluids lost during physical exertion in the intense heat. Electrolyte drinks are now widely used by trainers, dieticians, and athletes across the country, particularly football players who lose substantial amounts of water weight during those hot early-season games.
"Athletes, over the course of an hour, can lose two to three percent of their body weight, which could equate to somewhere between three to five pounds per hour. That can also reduce their ability to concentrate and their ability to think, which is related to performance as well," said Dr. Travis Thomas, a Professor of Sports and Nutrition at UK.
UK Football has a week of weather before their kick-off game, but most high schools in Kentucky have already kicked off their football on Friday nights. Sophomore tight end Josh Kattus wanted to share his tips with younger players on how best to hydrate before game time.
“The hydration process starts on Monday,” said Kattus. “You know, don’t just think, ‘Oh, we are playing on Friday; I should probably drink some water.’’ You have to do it Monday through Friday to get optimal peak performance.”
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