Tag Archives: dehydration

Youth Athletes More Likely to Be Dehydrated

23 Aug

Dehydration is the number one cause of fatigue-related performance decline in athletes, including youth athletes.  Hydration — during activity (practices, games, etc.) — doesn’t seem to be adequate or effective enough to maintain hydration status. Therefore, it is imperative for coaches and parents to encourage hydration throughout the day — before, during (especially), and after activity.

The body is about 70% water, and small fluctuations in that percentage can make an impact, quickly. As water levels decline, so do the levels of nutrients needed to keep the body functioning effectively, such as salt and potassium.

Fatigue can occur when the volume of blood in the body is reduced as dehydration gets worse. That causes the heart to pump less efficiently. As dehydration progresses, the body has a more difficult time diffusing internal heat, and tension is created through the body in muscles, joints, and organs. That tension often manifests itself as fatigue.

Here’s an article from Health and Fitness News, based on a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study, titled, Youth Athletes More Likely to Be Dehydrated.  Thanks to my friend, Niki, for sharing this resource.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Dangers of Heat Illness Reduced by Following Proper Guidelines

19 Jun

With summer upon us and temperatures soaring, here’s a timely article, authored by David Csillan, MS, LAT, ATC, and published by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS.org).

The article – titled, Dangers of Heat Illness Reduced by Following Proper Guidelines – discusses exertional heat illness and exertional heat stroke (EHS), its myths and realities, and prevention strategies.  It’s a worthwhile read for athletes, parents, coaches, and trainers.

Outside temperatures are on the rise and will be in full force just in time for athletes to participate in their summer and preseason practices. For this reason, it’s important for athletic trainers, coaches and school administrators to get a tune-up on potentially what lies ahead. With a little advance planning, the risk of your athletes experiencing a catastrophic event due to exertional heat illness will be significantly decreased.

There are various degrees of exertional heat illness with exertional heat stroke (EHS) being the most serious. Many athletic injuries are a result of bad luck or overtraining; however, EHS is 100 percent preventable if the nationally recommended heat acclimatization guidelines are followed and schools are prepared to initiate appropriate care if an emergency occurs.

The EHS death of Minnesota Vikings’ offensive tackle Korey Stringer during football camp in August 2001 elevated the discussion and action with regard to physical exertion in the heat.

The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee wrote a position statement and created an online course entitled A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) developed several position statements and published Preseason Heat Acclimatization Guidelines for Secondary School Athletics. The Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) was established to provide research, education, advocacy and consultation to maximize performance, optimize safety and prevent sudden death in athletes. The University of Georgia’s Climatology Research Laboratory released heat safety thresholds for specific regions throughout the country. These thresholds are currently being applied in the Georgia High School Association’s heat illness policy.

Now that we have the evidence-based data, we may ask ourselves “Why and how do we apply it”? In order to acquire a better understanding of EHS and its management, we must first debunk a few common myths.

Myth Busters 101
Myth #1: EHS can only occur when ambient temperatures reach 100 degrees F.

Truth: Evidence suggests that the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) should be the measurement of choice to determine safe environmental conditions for physical activity. The WBGT provides a reading of ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and radiant heat (from the sun). Why is wind speed important? It allows for better evaporation of sweat leading to more effective cooling. Environmental conditions are constantly changing over the course of practice. As opposed to listening to the weather report prior to practice, the athletic trainer should monitor environmental conditions on site in real time. Utilizing a WBGT device and establishing activity modification guidelines such as work-rest ratios, hydration breaks, equipment worn and length of practice significantly decreases the risk of EHS.

Many coaches still refer to their area’s heat index when determining how practices will be conducted. Heat index refers to the ambient temperature and relative humidity measured in the shade and was originally used to determine if outdoor conditions were safe for the young and elderly. Since athletes are exercising in the direct sun, heat index readings are deemed inappropriate.

Although dangerous conditions most commonly occur during the hot summer months, EHS can happen at any time and in the absence of high environmental temperatures. EHS is not a 100 degrees’ issue. Geographical location plays an important role.

Generally speaking, athletes residing in the Northeast part of the country are accustomed to cooler temperatures compared to those in the Southeast or Midwest. As a result, participating in an environment of 85 degrees with high humidity for those living in the Northeast presents equal risk of EHS to those living in the Southeast and Midwest participating in temperatures reaching 100 degrees with high humidity. It is also important to understand that direct sun is not the sole contributor of heat deaths. Exercise intensity and environmental conditions are the primary factors associated with EHS.

Myth #2: An athlete must be severely dehydrated for EHS to occur.

Truth: While dehydration may predispose an athlete to, or exacerbate, EHS, dehydration does not always have to be present for EHS to occur. EHS can result in as little as 20 minutes after the beginning of exercise before severe fluid loss is prominent. The days of over-hydrating are gone as we’ve found this may put the athlete at risk for hyponatremia – another potentially catastrophic event.

During activity, athletes should be instructed to allow thirst to be their guide. Athletes should weigh themselves prior to, and immediately after, every practice. The weight should be recorded on a chart and strictly monitored by the athletic trainer or coach. A weight loss of two percent or more for any athlete should be made up prior to that athlete participating in the next practice. Otherwise, the athlete will be competing at a deficit and increasing their risk.

Myth #3: An athlete stops sweating during EHS.

Truth: We’ve been taught that heat stroke yields hot, dry skin on the victim. However, since EHS occurs during intense exercise in the heat, the athlete is almost always profusely sweating upon collapse. This is perhaps the most widely misunderstood sign of EHS and may lead to mistreatment and death. It’s important to review the current literature published by the NFHS, NATA and KSI in order to be updated on EHS signs, symptoms and management.

Houston, We Have a Problem
If EHS is suspected, it’s advised for the athletic trainer or coach to: remove the athlete’s equipment and excess clothing, contact EMS, determine vital signs and initiate rapid cooling by immersing the athlete
chest high in a tub of cold (39 – 59 degrees F) water. Core body temperature may elevate as high as 106 degrees F so it’s important to lower that as fast as possible. The typical rate of cooling in an immersion
tub is about ONE degree F every three minutes. On the average, it may take 15 minutes to cool the body five degrees. If an athlete is not cooled prior to transportation, the risk of developing complications or losing the athlete to EHS increases. Even though the EMS vehicle may be air conditioned, it’s not sufficient enough to lower the athlete’s core temperature during transport.

The Reality
Twenty athletes died as a result of EHS from 2010 to 2015. This five-year block was greater than any five-year block in the past 40 years. It’s two times the five-year block average for EHS deaths since 1975. The five-year block average over 35 years is 10.5 deaths. We must ask ourselves, “Things are getting worse, but why”?

The warmer climate, coupled with the fact that today’s youth spend more time than ever before in air conditioned facilities, sets them up as potential victims. Coaches need to remember that young athletes comprise this population and not everyone will be reporting to preseason camp acclimatized and in shape. The research and education is available but the application continues to lack. Unless we understand the nature of EHS and utilize best practices in emergency management, these statistics will continue to climb.

Exertional heat stroke is not exclusive to football. It is non-discriminatory. EHS can occur regardless of male/female, football/field hockey, varsity/freshman or outdoors/indoors. As athletic trainers, coaches and administrators, we owe it to our athletes to provide them with the safest environment to compete. And, we must start now.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Avoid These Metabolism Killers

4 Nov

man-drinking-water[1]Your body is pretty remarkable.  It burns calories all by itself, as long as you avoid certain pitfalls.  Your metabolism — the process of turning the food you eat into energy — keeps your organs and muscles moving.  The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn.  And just like there are ways to speed it up — by working out, for example — there are also things that can slow it down.  Here are a few things to avoid to keep your metabolism running efficiently:

An Irregular Eating Schedule

Be more consistent with your eating schedule.  Research demonstrates that eating at the same times every day “trains” the body to burn more calories between meals, as opposed to a sporadic eating schedule.

Lack of Sleep

Get adequate sleep.  Typically, people who sleep less move less the next day, which means they burn fewer calories.  To make matters worse, sleep deprivation actually reduces the amount of energy your body uses at rest.

Eating Too Little

Food is fuel.  When you skimp on calories, your body switches into starvation mode, slowing your metabolic rate to conserve the fuel it’s got.

Sitting Too Long

Get up and move around, from time to time.  In as little as 20 minutes in any fixed position,  you begin to inhibit your metabolism.

Inadequate Calcium

Drink your milk.  Calcium plays a key role in regulating your fat metabolism, which determines whether you burn calories or store them as fat.  A diet that’s high in calcium could help you burn more fat.

Dehydration

Drink more water.  All of your body’s cellular processes, including metabolism, depend on water. If you’re dehydrated, you could burn fewer calories.  And dehydration is the most common reason for athletic performance fatigue.

Skipping Breakfast

Eat something within 90 minutes of waking in the morning.  When you miss breakfast, you don’t just set yourself up to overeat at lunch.  You actually tell your body to conserve energy — which means it burns calories more slowly.  Research shows that people who skip a morning meal are 4.5 times more likely to be obese.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER

Your thoughts?

The Effect of Heat Stress on Sprint and Jump Performance

18 Apr

jimmer-fredette[1]Sports like basketball and soccer require frequent intervals of running and jumping, over an entire game.  Additionally, these (and other) sports are often played in warm environmental conditions — both indoor and outdoor.

Research has consistently shown that fatigue leads to a decline in performance, and that higher temperatures lead to even greater declines.  This performance decline is partly to mostly associated with severe dehydration.

So how can you prepare yourself in a way that minimizes the impact of fatigue and dehydration on your game performance?

Conditioning

When it comes to conditioning, your training should mimic/reflect the demands of your sport.  This applies to intensity, duration, and movement patterns.  For most athletes, high-intensity interval training  (HIIT) should be a component of any off-season strength and conditioning program.  This type of training involves alternating high- and low-intensity exercise over a pre-determined period of time.  For more detailed information, please refer to my previous blog post, Add Interval Training to Your Routine.

Hydration

Adequate fluid intake — before, during, and after activity — is a must for any athlete.  The impact of hydration on performance cannot be overstated.  Inadequate hydration may be the single-biggest reason for performance fatigue and decline.  My STACK Media article, How to Hydrate Your Body, provides basic hydration guidelines for athletes.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Hydration, Water, and Electrolyte Replacement

21 Aug

reh%20mp%20jug[1]

Water plays a crucial role in athletic performance, and dehydration adversely affects performance.

As a matter of fact, water affects athletic performance more than any other nutrient, and dehydration is the number one cause of performance-related decline.

For most of us — in most situations — water (consumed in ample quantities) is all we need to keep us hydrated.

Consuming adequate fluids before, during, and after training and competition is essential to optimal strength training, endurance aerobic exercise, and athletic performance.

There are, however, situations in which electrolyte replacement is warranted:

  • Hot, humid environmental conditions
  • High-intensity, physically rigorous activity
  • Extended duration of activity (45-60 minutes, or more)

Fluid replacement may also depend on the athlete, him- or herself, as there may be differences in ideal fluid replacement among and between athletes.

Any of these situations, alone or in combination, may precipitate a need for something more than water.  Sweat-induced fluid loss can create an electrolyte deficit — including sodium, (and, to a lesser extent) potassium, and magnesium.

Here’s some insight from Craig A. Horswill, PhD titled, Making Your Fluids Work Harder When You Work Hard.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Schools Should Encourage Hydration for Kids

20 Mar

Drinking-fountain[1]Dehydration is the #1 cause of performance-related decline, but not just physiological decline.

Even mild-to-moderate dehydration in school-aged kids can adversely impact cognitive performance.  Being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills, according to research from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Many of the student-athletes we train tell us that water bottles are forbidden in their schools.  Perhaps there’s some safety/security issue that I just don’t see, but I don’t understand this policy.

Teachers and administrators should be encouraging their students to stay hydrated throughout the day.  I’ve read about schools whose teachers remind their students, at the end of each period, to get a drink of water between classes.  I’ve also heard about schools that set up “drink stations” in their halls to ensure that students have an opportunity to drink water between classes.

Improving education and awareness among administrators, teachers, and students — as is relates to proper hydration and its impact on daily physiological and psychological function — is a step in the right direction.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Youth Athletes More Likely to Be Dehydrated

4 Apr

boy drinking waterDehydration is the number one cause of fatigue-related performance decline in athletes, including youth athletes.  Hydration — during activity (practices, games, etc.) — doesn’t seem to be adequate or effective enough to maintain hydration status. Therefore, it is imperative for coaches and parents to encourage hydration throughout the day — before, during (especially), and after activity.

The body is about 70% water, and small fluctuations in that percentage can make an impact, quickly. As water levels decline, so do the levels of nutrients needed to keep the body functioning effectively, such as salt and potassium.

Fatigue can occur when the volume of blood in the body is reduced as dehydration gets worse. That causes the heart to pump less efficiently. As dehydration progresses, the body has a more difficult time diffusing internal heat, and tension is created through the body in muscles, joints, and organs. That tension often manifests itself as fatigue.

Here’s an article from Health and Fitness News, based on a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study, titled, Youth Athletes More Likely to Be Dehydrated.  Thanks to my friend, Niki Pearce, for sharing this resource.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Avoid These Metabolism Killers

7 Aug

man-drinking-water[1]Your body is pretty remarkable.  It burns calories all by itself, as long as you avoid certain pitfalls.  Your metabolism — the process of turning the food you eat into energy — keeps your organs and muscles moving.  The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn.  And just like there are ways to speed it up — by working out, for example — there are also things that can slow it down.  Here are a few things to avoid to keep your metabolism running efficiently:

An Irregular Eating Schedule

Be more consistent with your eating schedule.  Research demonstrates that eating at the same times every day “trains” the body to burn more calories between meals, as opposed to a sporadic eating schedule.

Lack of Sleep

Get adequate sleep.  Typically, people who sleep less move less the next day, which means they burn fewer calories.  To make matters worse, sleep deprivation actually reduces the amount of energy your body uses at rest.

Eating Too Little

Food is fuel.  When you skimp on calories, your body switches into starvation mode, slowing your metabolic rate to conserve the fuel it’s got.

Sitting Too Long

Get up and move around, from time to time.  In as little as 20 minutes in any fixed position,  you begin to inhibit your metabolism.

Inadequate Calcium

Drink your milk.  Calcium plays a key role in regulating your fat metabolism, which determines whether you burn calories or store them as fat.  A diet that’s high in calcium could help you burn more fat.

Dehydration

Drink more water.  All of your body’s cellular processes, including metabolism, depend on water. If you’re dehydrated, you could burn fewer calories.  And dehydration is the most common reason for athletic performance fatigue.

Skipping Breakfast

Eat something within 90 minutes of waking in the morning.  When you miss breakfast, you don’t just set yourself up to overeat at lunch.  You actually tell your body to conserve energy — which means it burns calories more slowly.  Research shows that people who skip a morning meal are 4.5 times more likely to be obese.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER

Your thoughts?

The Effect of Heat Stress on Sprint and Jump Performance

25 Mar

jimmer-fredette[1]Sports like basketball and soccer require frequent intervals of running and jumping, over an entire game.  Additionally, these (and other) sports are often played in warm environmental conditions — both indoor and outdoor.

Research has consistently shown that fatigue leads to a decline in performance, and that higher temperatures lead to even greater declines.  This performance decline is partly to mostly associated with severe dehydration.

So how can you prepare yourself in a way that minimizes the impact of fatigue and dehydration on your game performance?

Conditioning

When it comes to conditioning, your training should mimic/reflect the demands of your sport.  This applies to intensity, duration, and movement patterns.  For most athletes, high-intensity interval training  (HIIT) should be a component of any off-season strength and conditioning program.  This type of training involves alternating high- and low-intensity exercise over a pre-determined period of time.  For more detailed information, please refer to my previous blog post, Add Interval Training to Your Routine.

Hydration

Adequate fluid intake — before, during, and after activity — is a must for any athlete.  The impact of hydration on performance cannot be overstated.  Inadequate hydration may be the single-biggest reason for performance fatigue and decline.  My STACK Media article, How to Hydrate Your Body, provides basic hydration guidelines for athletes.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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