Hydration is an important aspect that can contribute positively or negatively to an athlete’s performance. When an athlete becomes dehydrated, both mental and physical performance is affected, especially when heat is an environmental factor. This is a problem when high intensity exercise is involved in the training and participation of a sport. Coaches should be aware that athletes need to hydrate before, during, and after exercise in order to maintain optimal performance levels. There are different ways to maintain hydration.
Volpe, Poule, and Bland (2009), define dehydration as a “dynamic loss of body water or the transition from euhydration to hypohydration.” (p. 625) Athletic and physical education organizations often overlook the importance of proper hydration before, during, and after exercising. This is due to the lack of proper education about what is suitable hydration for sports practice sessions and competitive sessions/games. Although efforts are being made to educate athletes about the harmfulness of dehydration, some of the players still do not use proper hydration practices before, during, and after practice and competitions. (Volpe, Poule & Bland, 2009) Dehydration is an issue that coaches and athletes deal with on a daily basis. Dehydration occurs when the loss of body fluids, especially water, surpasses the amount of fluid intake. Dehydration begins as soon as the athlete starts to exercise, and if hydration is not implemented into a daily routine then performance levels may decrease just minutes into a vigorous workout. Hydration should be implemented before, during, and after exercise in order to decrease the amount of water and salt deficiencies that are associated with vigorous exercise. Also, hydration after exercise is important in that it helps put water and electrolytes back into the body (Maughan and Shirreffs, 2010).
Pre-hydration is the first step in preventing dehydration during exercise. Pre-exercise hydration is an important step in maintaining fluid levels in the body when starting an exercise session, practice, or any physical activity. While a proper amount of fluid in the body is just as important as maintaining the hydration during the exercise or physical activity. Pre-hydration should begin several hours before the actual activity begins. By doing so, this will give the athlete an advantage over another athlete that has not pre-hydrated. Also, the output of urine of the athlete will almost be back to normal before starting the practice (Sawka and Burke, 2007). Athletes should be well hydrated prior to beginning a regular workout or competition. This can be achieved by drinking 400-800ml of fluid within 3 hours prior to exercise. (Powell & Howley, 2012).
Hydration during exercise is the next important step in the prevention of dehydration. Athletes need to hydrate during exercise to prevent body weight loss greater than 2%. The amount of fluid intake that it requires to do this is still debatable and...