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The Top 3 Ways For Gymnasts to Stay Hydrated This Summer.

Gymnasts: Being dehydrated is a great way to ensure you have a bad practice.

Dehydration is not only a great way to ensure gymnasts have a bad practice, but it can also increase your risk of injury or having a serious medical emergency. Especially in the summer when temps in and out of the gym are HOT and you sweat more than usual.

Some of the most notable signs of dehydration include thirst, decreased performance and energy, feeling tired, dry or sticky mouth, dark yellow urine or not able urinate, dry cool skin, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, or a rapid increase in heartbeat or breathing. As I see it, none of these conditions are seem like they will help you to have a successful training...

Since today is National Hydration Day, to help you stay hydrated, I am sharing the 3 best ways to help you stay hydrated this summer and all year long.

1. Water! Water is needed for every single system and function of your body. Gymnasts should drink AT LEAST ½ their body weight in ounces of water each day, not including extra water for training.

EX: A 130lb gymnast should drink AT LEAST 75oz of water daily (that's about 4 1/2 traditional plastic water bottles) each day, not including additional fluids needed for training.

When you have practice, you'll need to drink more! 2 to 3 hours before training, try to drink between 8-16oz of water. In the 15 minutes leading up to practice, continue to sip on your water - shoot for between 4-8 ounces. During practice, sip on your water every 15 minutes, drinking about 8-16oz every hour. It helps if you can keep it with you at each rotation and be able to refill it easily! And of course, to help with recovery, drink another 8-16oz of water within 1 hour of practice ending.

2. Electrolyte drinks: Gymnasts, if your gym is extra warm or if you find that you're a salty sweater, get tired or fatigued easily, or frequently feel the effects of dehydration, you may need more than just water. Electrolytes - sodium, potassium, and calcium, are minerals that help the right amount of water get into your muscles and cells. Instead of plain water, try coconut water or a product like Propel, Gatorade 0, Nuun, LiquidIV, or Recover180.

3. Carbohydrate drinks: Gymnasts, if your practice is 2+ hours long and you don't get a chance to have a snack or don't feel comfortable eating mid-practice, then a carb-based

drink could be for you! Look for a drink that has 15-30g of carbs with at least 2 types of sugar sources (read the listed ingredients at the bottom of the nutrition facts label and look for 2 or more words ending in -ose. Ex. glucose, fructose, sucrose). Try: Gatorade, Powerade, Skratch, Body Armour, or a 50/50 mixture of your favorite 100% fruit juice + water with a pinch of salt. Try this homemade sports drink recipe:

Bonus tip:

Including foods like fruit and veggies that naturally have a lot of water in them throughout the day can help with hydration!

So, grab your drinks, keep them next to you all day long, and sip away!

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Kerry Bair, RD, LDN, MPH

The Gymnast RD

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