Even mild dehydration can affect a person's athletic performance and make him lethargic and irritable. As dehydration worsens, it increases the risk of other heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Teens who are out playing football, cricket and other sports are at risk of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses.
A person may be all the more vulnerable to dehydration if he:
Many players/teens do not deal adequately with dehydration, and in fact never fully rehydrate after training or a game. This leads to them taking part in further sports sessions already in a dehydrated state exposing themselves to a greater risk of injury.
How to prevent dehydration while participating in sports:
Most heat-related problems occur in the initial days of practice. Coaches should gradually increase the amount of activity. New athletes may need up to 14 days to safely acclimatize to the heat.
If you're participating in sport activities, drink some fluids before the activity begins. You should also drink at regular intervals (every 20 minutes or so) during the course of the activity even if you are not thirsty, and after the activity finishes.
Mostly, teens need about twice as much fluid as they usually drink when they're playing sports or exercising. But if you're busy playing, do not forget to stop and take a drink, or rest and cool down for a while.
Lightweight, light-coloured clothing is best. Ventilated shorts and tees let heat dissipate. For sports that use heavy equipment, begin practicing in lighter clothes to acclimatize your body and then shift to heavy gear.
For each kg of weight lost through sweat, replace with 1.5 litres of fluids. Along with water, electrolytes are also lost through sweat. Sports drinks contain both carbohydrates and electrolytes. Ensure that your sports drink has a carbohydrate level of 6 - 8%.
To help reduce the muscular damage caused by sports, it is necessary to consume a source of protein along with your sports drink. Some sports drinks do contain protein, but if yours does not, consume some light protein rich food after your sport is over.
Sports, protein supplements and dehydration:
Many a times, teens involved in sports consume a variety of protein supplements which is also a main cause of dehydration. That is because excess amino acids from protein supplements, which cannot be incorporated as new proteins are converted either into energy or fat. During the conversion process excess urea is produced which increases the body's need for water, which can lead to dehydration.
If your teen is on a balanced diet, then his body does not require the extra protein provided by a supplement.
Make your own sports drink to combat dehydration:
Mix all the ingredients together and drink chilled - drinks are absorbed more quickly if they are cool rather than ice cold.