Soccer Health Tips: 4 Ways to Stay Hydrated
It’s time for another soccer tip blog, and this time we’re covering an important tip that many soccer players take for granted. During the summer, any athlete often hears how important it is to stay hydrated. In the summer, it’s incredibly easy to become dehydrated due to the sun and heat, but indoor soccer players need to remember to stay hydrated as well. In a temperature controlled indoor facility, you don’t have the heat to remind you to drink, so here are a few ways to make sure you stay hydrated while playing soccer indoors.
Understand why you need H2O
The best way to stay hydrated is to understand why you need to stay hydrated. Most of us already know that dehydration comes with symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, etc… but it’s important to know why these happen.
Your body is made up of about 37.2 trillion cells and each cell is essentially a little water balloon. Yes, each living cell has a function, but all are relatively similar in that the organelles inside each cell are floating around in water (essentially). As you become dehydrated, water is drawn out of your body’s cells as a result of osmosis and an increasing solute concentration outside of the cell. That’s fancy way of saying: water is sucked out of the cell to replace water that you’re sweating and breathing out.
If the cells of important organs like your brain, muscles, or heart begin to lose water, they begin to function poorly. Your muscles could cramp up and your brain might not be able to think so well!
Now that we know why your body can’t function if it loses water, we should cover ways to prevent more water from escaping. A lot of what comes out of your body is a result of what goes in. Some foods and drinks you put into your body can actually cause you to lose water.
These are called diuretics and some of the more common diuretics are caffeinated drinks (coffee or soda) or some fruit juices (like cranberry juice). While these drinks won’t directly cause you to lose more fluid that you absorb by drinking them, they will increase your overall fluid losses by making you sweat more or have to go the bathroom more often.
Electrolyte drinks like Gatorade or Powerade are great for athletes that have worked hard and need to rehydrate after sweating a lot, but be aware that these drinks have a high amount of sugar and the electrolyte balance might actually be higher than is needed, depending on the level of sport.
If your level of sport or dehydration is only mild, you might be better off to stick with water.
A common compromise is to drink equal amounts of water as sports drink. This is a good option for children that shouldn’t typically be drinking sports drinks exclusively anyways (children tend to sweat less than adults).
An excellent alternative to electrolyte drinks is to eat a carbohydrate dense piece of fruit and wash it down with plenty of water. The sugars will help to provide quick energy that’s needed for finishing out a game, and eating tends to stimulate thirst (which is why you usually get thirsty after a big meal).
If you are planning to play soccer all year, inside and out, it’s important to make sure you know why and how to stay hydrated. The last thing you need to deal with is a you or a teammate passing out because they didn’t drink enough.
Plan ahead, bring plenty of fluids and a refillable container and you should be all set to keep your indoor soccer game going without having to worry about the dangers of dehydration.