Hydration 101

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If you’re a cheerleader, you know that it’s important to practice hard prior to games and competition. What you may not be aware of is that hydration plays a major role in the way you feel and perform. To optimize performance, you should take into account what you eat and drink prior to, during and after workouts. When you’re properly hydrated your energy increases, body temperature regulates and performance levels improve- bonus: it will give your skin a healthy, even glow.

When thinking about hydration, remember these helpful tips:

1.       Your urine should be a pale yellow, like lemonade. If it’s closer to the color of apple juice, increase your water intake.

2.       If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Headache
  • Dry lips
  • Joint pain
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue

PRE-PRACTICE/GAME:

Starting practice or a game already hydrated is the best way to ensure peak performance as well as safety. Two to three hours beforehand, drink 2-3 glasses of water. Then, 10-20 minutes before your performance, drink another 1-1 ½ glasses. When it’s hot out, drink cold water throughout the day to keep your body temperature down. One trick to keep you drinking is to add fruit or mint to your water. This will add flavor to keep things interesting!

Stay hydrated by adding these high water content foods to your meals:

  • Pineapples
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes

DURING PRACTICE/GAME TIME:

Fluid intake during workouts should equal the amount of fluids lost due to sweat and urination. This means that you should drink one glass of water every 15-20 minutes. For practices or games that last more than 45 minutes, take place during high temperatures or are high intensity, add a sports drink like Gatorade to replace electrolytes. Remind your coach to include water breaks in the practice plan and encourage your teammates to always have a water bottle with them.

POST-PRACTICE/GAME:

After workouts, you should re-hydrate within two hours to aid muscle recovery. Drink 3-4 glasses of water, depending on how much you were sweating. If your workout was intense, drink tart cherry juice or chocolate milk to help speed recovery.

Happy hydrating!

As seen in American Cheerleader Magazine

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