Drinking for Sport
One of the most important things you can do is to be well hydrated during training sessions and on the day of the event. If you get dehydrated it can stop you performing at your best, so it’s important to make sure you drink enough. Becoming dehydrated is very easy as the body can lose up to 1-2 litres through sweating, even on colder days.
Drink plenty of water before you train and get into the habit of drinking regularly throughout the day and not just waiting until you feel thirsty.
The fluid we have when we’re exercising should be on top of the usual 1.5 litres (6 to 8 glasses) we need every day - more when it is hot.
Try to get used to drinking while you are training and competing, it may feel uncomfortable at first but, once you are used to it, you will be able to take in more water to help improve your performance.
Sports drinks are made to provide just the right amounts of water and carbohydrate (in the form of glucose), so they can be absorbed rapidly. These are worth using if you exercise hard for more than an hour at a time. Re-hydrating with these drinks after a training session or an event is also very important for recovery. If you can’t afford to buy expensive sports drink, make your own at home, try fruit juice mixed with water, well diluted fruit squashes, or juice drinks. These will hydrate you and give you some energy. But remember that these drinks, like sports drinks, still contain sugar, and could lead to tooth decay if you have them too often and if you don’t look after your teeth. Make sure you are well hydrated even before you start exercising.
To help keep you hydrated:
- Don’t wait until you feel thirsty
- Drink lots before you start exercising (water, sugar free squash, well diluted fruit juice)
- Keep some drink to hand so you can reach it whenever you need it while you’re exercising
- Drink plenty when you’ve finished