A lot of people underestimate the element and role of proper hydration. People seem to forget that if you do not stay properly hydrated, that you will suffer any ill effects and that you will be able just to drink a glass or two of water after the workout or game and be just fine.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Proper methods dictate it’s best to hydrate yourself before, during, and after a workout or game. This includes drinking a glass or two of water a few hours before you start your activities, a few glasses worth during your activities and a few glasses after your activities.

If your body is telling you that you are dehydrated, listen to those signs and do something about them. If you feel light headed and dizzy, you muscles start to hurt and begin to cramp up, or you feel weak and your stomach is feeling uneasy, take a break. Sit down, drink a glass or bottle of water, and relax for a few minutes. This will allow your body to recover and allow it a few moments of rest so that it isn’t trying to push the envelope further.

When you are working out or are involved in a sport such as basketball, you will need also to consider outside factors when you are working on your hydration levels. If it is hotter outside, or you are playing a little harder, you might have to get a little more water into you.

Also, cool drinks are the way to go, if they are too cold, your body will not process them as fast, and will end up leaving you with a potentially bloated feeling that can be a nuisance or even affect your output. If you are doing a short burst workout that is about 45 minutes or less, then water is your best choice to drink. If you’re looking to do an extended workout that is over a 45-minute limit, sports beverages might assist you in having a good workout by providing a bit more endurance.

DO NOT go overboard on the sports drinks, and if you include them in your workout regimen, ensure that you consider that when you are working on a specific diet plan as sometimes daily allowances for sugar/carbs/sodium can be exceeded without even realizing it.

In the end, a lot of people take for granted carrying a few bottles of water or sports drinks in their bags or keeping them in their lockers, but it will go a long way when you find yourself needing to stay hydrated. If you abuse your body and do not provide it with the proper and necessary fuel to keep it functioning, you can find that you are prone to potential injuries that can be anywhere from very minor to very fatal. There have been incidents where athletes overheat during exercise or games because they do not take care of this vital element of their training and gaming.

Ensuring that you stay hydrated before, during, and after any games or workouts will go a long way in keeping you functioning at your peak!

Photo credit: Raymond Brown