Last week we talked about heat exhaustion and tips on how to acclimate your kids to heat-related environments while participating in sports. Today I wanted to add on to this topic and talk about hydration. The single most important factor in reducing heat-related injuries is making sure plenty of water and electrolyte drinks are readily available. The loss of 3-5% of body weight or 2-5 pounds over a twenty-four-hour period is highly susceptible to heat exhaustion, or worse, heat strokes. At high-intensity sports activity and/or higher temperature environments, we can lose up to 1.5 liters of fluid from sweat in an hour!
The best way to prevent hydration is to have a plan; here is the following suggested plan:
The day before competition: consume ¼ – ½ of water per pound of body weight, intake divided evenly throughout the day. (multiply the body weight by 0.25 or .5). For example, someone weighs 140 pounds, they would consume 35 oz – 70 oz of water throughout the day before competition.
4 hours before competition: If dehydration is a problem, consume 1 oz of electrolyte fluid (sports drink) per 10 pounds of body weight (divide body weight by 10).
3 hours before competition: 1 oz of electrolyte fluid per 10 pounds of body weight
2 hours before competition: 1 oz of electrolyte fluid per 10 pounds of body weight
1 hour before competition: 1 oz of water per 10 pounds of body weight
During competition: This is very dependent on many factors such as body composition, amount of sweat, and environmental temperature but on average, typically a sufficient amount would be 14-20 fluid oz of electrolyte fluid per hour of competition.
Within 24 hours after competition/recovery: 16 oz of water and/or sports drink per pound of bodyweight loss. (remember from last week’s post to weigh before and after the sporting event, and the weight loss after is the amount of water loss during the competition)