Athletes should be educated on the importance of maintaining proper hydration as well as methods available to monitor hydration status. This will help with optimal performance and reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
Getting ready before physical activity:
- Athletes should consume 17-20 ounces of water or sports drink 2-3 hours prior to physical activity
- An additional 7-10 ounces should be consumed within 10-20 minutes prior to practices/games
Keeping up during physical activity:
- Athletes should consume 7-10 ounces of fluids approximately every 20 minutes of physical activity
- Breaks should be scheduled more frequently as the temperature, humidity, or heat index increases
- Athletes should be provided constant unrestricted access to water or sports drink throughout practices/games
Recovery after physical activity:
- Athletes should consume 20 ounces of fluids per pound of body weight lost during physical activity
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Athletes having any of the above signs and symptoms should consume more fluids and resolve their symptoms prior to further participation.
Weight Charts: During the heat acclimatization period it is strongly recommended that athletes record their body weight (under supervision) before and after each exercise session.
Athletes will be designated into “zones” according to the amount of weight lost during physical activity.
Green Zone: Athletes with less than 1% weight loss versus prior weigh-in. Encourage fluid consumption prior to next session.
Yellow Zone: Athletes with 1 – 3% weight loss versus prior weigh-in. Encourage fluid consumption of 20 ounces per pound lost and report to the next session within 1% of previous weigh-in.
Red Zone: Athletes with greater than 4% weight loss versus prior weigh-in. They should be evaluated for heat-related illness and considered significantly dehydrated. They should not be allowed to resume physical activity until they are hydrated or within 1% of their prior weigh-in and they should be monitored and considered at-risk upon their return to play.
- Athletes should be encouraged to consume water or sports drink to maximize hydration
- “Energy” drinks or beverages containing caffeine, alcohol, or carbonation should be discouraged
- Urine color charts and other educational material should be posted in the restroom, the athletic training room, and other common areas
- Athletes need to “look out for each other” if signs and symptoms arise during physical activity
- Athletes returning from illness or injury should be monitored and given a gradual increase to return to play
- Athletes taking prescriptions or OTC medications for the treatment of allergies, colds, the flu, sinus infections, or other medical conditions should be encouraged to consume higher amounts of fluids due to the increased dehydration that may occur
For up-to-date information on hydration, visit ksi.uconn.edu