Soccer Health

Soccer Health: Stay hydrated during those hot summer tournaments

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by Neil Chasan, PT, MMT See other “Soccer Health” columns here.

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Summers are usually camp and tournament time for youth soccer players. Often the heat, long hours and wind contribute to dehydration even without playing. Add soccer the mix, and a player can suffer dehydration very easily. The main reason this is an issue for soccer players is that most strains and sprains are impacted by dehydration. First of all, it is fair to say that outside of trauma, non-contact injuries are usually connective tissue injuries, and those structures are very much water-dependent. Both muscle and tendon strains on one hand and ligament and capsule sprains on the other can often be traced to dehydration.

From Youtube:

boy drinking water

There are numerous sports drinks that promise to keep you hydrated, but it pays to be informed. First, you need to pay attention to not fall behind. The best way to do this is to keep tabs on your own urine output. If your pee is dark-colored and the volume small, then you probably need to drink more fluids throughout the day.

One thing to keep in mind in this case, is that water is probably not the best way to re-hydrate if you are trying to catch up. The reason for this is that drinking water immediately quenches your thirst, and also initiates the production of urine. The result is that you can only achieve about a 60% re-hydration when drinking fresh water. On the other hand, the common electrolyte replacement drinks which are flavored achieve as much as an 80% re-hydration level.

Personally, I prefer Nuun since it has no calories, but in the case of playing soccer all day, the sugar in the drinks might actually be valuable to you beyond re-hydrating. It is critical to have sugar on board while exercising, to ensure normal fat metabolism, so the drink you choose should take that into consideration too, especially for multiple game days and long camp days.

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Hydration is difficult to achieve on game day, so make sure you start the day by drinking plenty of water. It’s best to get ahead! The current ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) standard suggests that you drink between 1 Oz of water per 10 pounds of body weight four hours before sweating, and if you plan to sweat a lot, than add another 0.6 Oz of water per 10 pounds of body weight 2 hours before training starts. When it comes to hydration between games, I would suggest that you drink immediately after a game and then on and off continuously until the next game in order to avoid a dehydration injury.

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Sweat contains electrolytes, which are really trace amounts of essential minerals. Sodium and Chloride are lost in the greatest concentration when one sweats, but Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium are also among the minerals lost both in sweat and in urine. For this reason, electrolyte replacement drinks are really valuable.

The key to choosing an electrolyte replacement drink is to think about how much you sweat. If you are salty and crusty after your game, then you might need a drink like a Nuun, which has 360 mg of Sodium or a drink like Gatorlyte that has as much as 760mg of Sodium, and if you don’t get too salty when you sweat, then perhaps you can do with a drink like Endurolyte that has only 40 mg of Sodium.

The point is that the market for these drinks is broad enough for you to be able to make informed choices about what specific drink best suits you. So do you research and test several products to find the one that works best for you.

Stay Hydrated!

From Youtube:

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