Hydration is essential for everyone, but it is especially important for athletes. Hydration affects your muscle growth, recovery and weight loss, so dehydration can have a significant impact on an athlete's performance.
One of the most important sports nutrition supplements your body craves is water. Your body requires water to flush out toxins, help you feel full, absorb nutrients and to perform many different metabolic processes, several of which have an effect on muscle repair and recovery. Summer is coming, so it is especially important to be aware of not only hydration, but the other essentials an athlete needs to maintain his or her overall general health.
Warning Signs of Dehydration
Whatever type of sport you participate in, staying hydrated is critical for your health. Without the appropriate amount of water, vitamins and supplements, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration can be extremely dangerous, even life-threatening if not caught and treated immediately. Some of the warning signs of dehydration include:
- Heat cramps, which is a common condition in extremely hot weather or when doing heavy physical activity. Symptoms of heat cramps may include fatigue, excessive sweating, thirst and cramps (usually in the arms, legs or stomach). Heat cramps can usually be treated quickly by drinking water or sports nutrition drinks and resting in a cool spot.
- Heat exhaustion, which occurs if you do not react to the symptoms of heat cramps. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, nausea and muscle cramps. It can usually be treated with cool beverages, taking a cool shower and getting into an air-conditioned area.
- Heat stroke occurs when your body temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Your skin will feel dry and hot to the touch. However, if your heatstroke has been brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin will feel moist. You will also feel sick to your stomach, your breathing may become rapid and shallow, skin will turn red and you will experience a throbbing headache. In severe situations, you may hallucinate, have seizures and/or have difficulty speaking.
Water is good, but it is also important to drink sports nutrition drinks that contain electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. These minerals are absorbed quicker by your intestines than pure water, so it puts the water into the blood quicker. Be careful not to overdue the salts, though, because too much in the drink will cause your intestines to dilute intestinal contents before they can be absorbed. On days that are extremely hot and humid, consider rotating beverages — drink one sports nutrition beverage for every three glass of pure water.
It is important to keep in mind that following any kind of exercise there will be cellular damage, which causes an increase in the breakdown of protein. The majority of disruption in the cellular process begins to be repaired as soon as the stressor is removed, so as soon as the activity stops, repair begins. Consuming endurance supplements and other sources of protein during exercise will help to speed up the recovery.
Don't Forget Your Vitamins
Next to water, vitamins are one of the most important things your body needs. Oxygen radicals, a byproduct of metabolism, causes some tissue damage during exercise. However, like the cellular process, the damage begins to repair itself when exercising stops. To increase the recovery rate, it is essential that you have sufficient amounts of vitamins C and E, which help minimize free radical buildup.
It is important to keep in mind that the longer you are training, the more water you should consume for your cells to keep up with demand. When competing in extreme temperatures or high altitudes, you will need extra hydration as well as an increase in protein and vitamins.
Please contact ProLine Sports Nutrition if you need more information about proper hydration or to visit us for quality vitamins and protein supplements from our vitamin and supplements store. Right now, when you spend $50 or more in Gatorade® products you will get a free Gatorade® sideline towel.