Game Changing Hydration Tips for Student Athletes

The August back-to-school chaos is here! Family vacations, summer camps, and summer sports practices are in the rear-view mirror. Now we must gear up for the rigor of fall semester and the next sports season. Here are a few ways you can hone in on your hydration to get ahead of the competition on the sports field and perform better in the classroom.

Choose your beverages wisely.

To improve performance, consider drinking a sports drink that contains carbohydrates and electrolytes, especially for intense exercise lasting more than 1 hour.

For optimal recovery, look for electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein. Research shows that milk is one of the most complete beverages for hydration, even better than water or sports drinks. Both white and chocolate milk have natural electrolytes, carbohydrates and high-quality protein to help you stay hydrated.

Choose chocolate milk for extra carbohydrates to help replenish energy stores after intense practices.This can improve recovery and help you be more prepared for your next practice or game.

Sip on beverages throughout the day.

Drink fluids slowly during the day rather than chugging large amounts of fluids all at once. Get a reusable water bottle that you like and carry it with you at home, in school, and on the sports field.

Consume foods that improve hydration.

There are lots of delicious foods that have a high water content and can help improve your hydration. Adding extra fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks is great for a hydration boost! Considering choosing yogurt as a source of water, protein, and electrolytes. If you are looking for refreshing snack ideas, check out these smoothie recipes.

Reach out to a sports dietitian if you would like help developing a specific hydration plan to fit your individual needs.

Ashley Delk Licata, PhD, RDN, LDN, CSSD is an Assistant Professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. She is a sports dietitian who has worked with athletes of all levels, and her research focuses on the effects of nutrition timing on body composition in athletes. She is passionate about helping people apply evidence-based research to their everyday lives.

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