Ah, summertime! A time for the outdoors. However, summer is not without its risks. High temperatures with a combination of physical activities, especially amongst children, should be monitored and cared for with some relative simple good habits.
Body fluids lost through sweat if not replenished can impair athletes performance by increasing fatigue and effecting cognitive skills. Luckily, dehydration can be prevented.
What to protect
Avoid dark, heavy fabrics when dressing to run outside in hot weather. Lightweight, breathable apparel will help the body stay cool. Some of the newer micro-fiber apparel also offers UV-protection, but always apply a sweat-proof sunscreen on exposed skin. Other accessories, such as hats, visors and sunglasses can help protect against too much sun.
When to drink:
Drink BEFORE you get thirsty. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration status because, you are already dehydrated by the time the thirst mechanism kicks in. In young children especially, the body has not yet developed its thirst mechanism, so you should make a big effort to drink before and during training and matches, and afterwards. Drink at regular intervals of every 15 to 20 minutes.
What to drink:
Research shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
When NOT to drink:
During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content, alcohol or carbonation. Fruit juices, soft drinks and energy drinks are high in sugar which slows fluid absorption by the body. No FIZZY drinks which can cause bloating and upset stomach.
If your urine is very dark you need to drink more fluids. When your urine is pale yellow your body has returned to its normal water balance. If your urine is very dark, you should drink 500ml of water immediately, and continue to drink until your urine is pale yellow again.