Sports Fans Need Hydration Too

Thousands of sports fans flock to warmer climates this time of year to watch professional sporting events held outdoors, such as this week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship taking place in Miami. Enjoying the moderate winter and springtime temperatures and excited to see their favorite players, many head to the golf or tennis court sidelines unprepared for the health effects a day outdoors can cause, such as dehydration.

Proper hydration is the key to avoid heat-related fatigue or worse. Hydration also keeps muscles from cramping up, which can result in injuries.

“Whether it’s bottled or from the tap, water does the body good. Without any unnecessary calories, it helps your muscles and brain stay hydrated for optimal physical and mental performance,” says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Signs of Dehydration:

Doctors and nutrition experts at Baptist Health South Florida urge sporting event spectators to pay attention to their bodies and watch for these signs of dehydration:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dark yellow or orange urine

These symptoms indicate a person is well on the way to being dehydrated and possibly could need medical intervention. Adequate hydration can be achieved by following a few basic guidelines.

Hydration Tips

1. Be proactive – don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Build in hydration breaks at regular intervals throughout the day.

2. Rely on water as the main source of hydration. Sports drinks, juice, lemonade and iced tea are considered sugar-sweetened beverages and should be limited or avoided. Coffee and other drinks high in caffeine content can also cause dehydration.

3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Foods can be sources of hydration too. Fruits and vegetables naturally have a high water content, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

At the end of the day, many people don’t realize the importance of being well hydrated for the drive home. Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, according to a study by Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

“Even mild dehydration is equivalent to being over the drunk-driving limit in terms of driver errors,” the study found. According to the research. The researchers studied the driving patterns of male drivers over a period of two days using a simulated driving program. Drivers had 47 traffic incidents when fully hydrated, but when the drivers were dehydrated, the traffic incidents spiked to 101 — more than double.

“The effects of dehydration can be serious,” says Cathy Clark-Reyes, a registered dietitian with Baptist Health Primary Care. “The more water we lose, the less mental capacity we have.”

Related Stories:

Danger: Driving While Dehydrated (Infographic)
Top 5 Hydration/Nutrition Tips for Runners
Hydrate to Beat the Heat

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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