Tennis Identity

Hydration 101° Tips for athletes in the heat

When summer hits, its time to make hydration a priority.  The pros make a point of drinking a lot before, during and after they play. You should too. below are tips and strategies to help you stay healthy and hydrated when temps rise:

Playing during the cooler parts of the day is smart. Early morning or early evening gets you out of the most intense sun of course. Indian Wells Tennis Center’s courts (Southern California) were actually closed until 5pm or so when I visited during a particularly hot day.

But many times, especially when when competing, you can’t choose when to play. For those who must play midday take a look at the below video on hydration.

Now let’s get specific to our sport. Here’s a clip from Page Love, a sports nutritionist.

The USTA has a page on tips for staying hydrated in high temps. Here’s a good PDF, too.

The basics:

*Make sure you’re acclimatized to the heat. Top level pros often prepare for hot tournaments by training in similar conditions for at least a week.

*Drink during changeovers whether you are thirsty or not.  The color of your urine is a good indicator. The darker the color the greater your need to hydrate.

Need a new water bottle? No problem.

*Some type of electrolyte drink should be consumed after play. Gatorade, or Powerade are well known but seek more all natural hydration or make your own for best results. Maria Sharapova has been know to drink Pedialyte.

Of course, tennis isn’t the sole outdoor summertime sport. Golf courses are crowded and high schools are getting their football and soccer teams ready for fall. Staying properly hydrated is critical, no matter what sport you’re in.

If you’re not a football fan, you might not know the name Korey Stringer. He was a pro football player for the Minnesota Vikings that died in their Minnesota summer training camp after suffering heat stroke in 2001.

As a direct result, the Korey Stringer Institute was established at the University of Connecticut. Check out all of the findings coming out of this program. Their guide to hydration is helpful.

So when you hit the court this summer hydrate before, during and after play and if you feel unwell, STOP playing and get yourself cool quickly.

Play safe in the heat.

Feature photo from IB Times.

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