Most people tend to focus on what to eat before and after exercise but proper hydration is the key to good performance. It is important to hydrate yourself not only before a game but also during and after to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.
During most activities that are less than 60 minutes, water is the best choice for hydration. However, during team sport activities greater than 60 minutes, a sports drink containing about 6-8% carbohydrates (about 14-20 grams of carbohydrates per 8 oz) such as Gatorade or Powerade works best.
The recommended guidelines for hydration according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) are:
Drink: 16 oz. of cold water about 2 hours before the game.
8-16 oz. of water 15 min. before the game
4-16 oz. of a sports drink every 15-20 min during the game.
24 oz. after the game for every pound lost. It is important to weight yourself before and after the game to deterimine the proper amount to drink after a big event. Try to drink the recommended amount within 6 hours after the game.
Some important reminders:
-Fruit juice and carbonated beverages such as soda can give you a bloated feeling and abdominal cramps because of the high sugar content.
-Avoid beverages with caffeine! Keep away from those popular energy drinks! Too much caffeine can cause:
-jitteriness and nervousness
By following these simple guidelines you will be able to stay hydrated and maximize your performance.