Let’s talk hydration!
We can go for three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. So, staying continuously hydrated seems to be a no brainer. Water serves as an integral part of the body and has important roles such as:
· Carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
· Regulating blood pressure
· Aiding digestion
· Preventing constipation
· Cushioning joints
· Maintaining electrolyte balance
· Regulating temperature
A common rule that many of us try and follow to stay hydrated is to drink 8 cups of water a day. But where did this rule come from? Well the myth that we need 8 glasses a day likely originated from a study conducted by the U.S food and nutrition board in 1945, where they recommended 2.5 litres of water a day. People took on board that advice without taking into consideration that the fluid recommendation included water that was naturally contained in food. People continued to follow this adage, even though till this day there is no research to show that 8 glasses is the optimal amount.
Maybe instead of following this old and arbitrary rule, why don’t we trust in what has worked for us for thousands of years, our body’s thirst response. We should let our body guide us, drink when you are thirsty and don’t ignore what your body is asking. Yes in certain conditions we need to drink more so than usual, such as when you have a urinary tract infection or diarrhea, or in some medical conditions we need to restrict fluid intake such as people with congestive heart failure, but let your general practitioner decide on that.
Using the colour of your urine is a more robust way to look at your hydration needs. Your urine should be light yellow, if it looks like water you’re drinking more than you need, if it is dark yellow or even orange you need to drink more.
Staying hydrated whilst exercising
While the risk of dehydration is well known and documented, it is possible to become overhydrated during exercise leading to a condition known as exercised associated hyponatremia (EAH). EAH is mainly associated with sporting events lasting more than 2 hours, so sports such as hockey, basketball and soccer would not be at risk. Hyponatremia is a condition where there is low salt concentration. During prolonged exercise excessive sodium loss can occur through sweat, coupled with many athletes consuming more water than is needed causes the concentration of salt levels in our blood to drop leading to EAH.
In 2002 the dangers of overhydration became known when a 28-year-old collapsed during the race and died two days later due to EAH. In subsequent years Harvard Medical School conducted studies and found that around 13% of Boston marathon runners had hyponatremia, with the strongest predictor of hyponatremia was due to excessive fluid intake. In fact, athletes who collapse from heat illness during exercise are often quite well-hydrated.
So how do we avoid this? Well because sodium is lost in sweat, it is very important for those are preparing for a marathon to get adequate sodium before, during and after exercise, especially if they continually drink water. As a safeguard during intensive prolonged exercise drinking fluids that contain sodium can help. However drinking sports drinks can only help slightly, with EAH mainly related to the total fluid intake during exercise.
The key is to simply drink when you feel thirsty, this be during exercise or day to day life. It isn’t necessary to stay ahead of your thirst. Try and have a glass of water with each meal and use the colour of your urine to decide whether you need another glass of water.
Recovery from the soccer season: Signs you may need Physiotherapy
With the soccer season well and truly over, many players cast their body woe’s aside, pledging to pick them up again before next season. Learn why NOW is the best time to fix those last season injuries and ensure they don’t come back to haunt you in 2019!
By now most of your bruises, aches and pains should have subsided! Any acute swelling should have gone down and what you might be left with is a body that’s feeling reasonably good in comparison to the post game soreness of the last few months. However, that little niggle on your ankle, the pinch in your groin and the ache in your lower back are signs that your body hasn’t fully recovered and rather than waiting for those compensations to rear their ugly heads next year, why not get on top of them now!
Physiotherapist – Lana Johnson, explains why “the off seasons is often a time when players don’t think too much about training, but it is in fact THE BEST time for injury rehabilitation and skill improvement!” By addressing any weakness in the biomechanical chain and the necessary compensation you developed to get you through the semi’s, you can ensure that next season your back on the field for longer, performing to your best!
The reason being, during the playing season, there is little room for technique correction, unloading and skill enhancement. This is because so much time is taken up by conditioning, team skill set’s, game day and recovery. The off season is the perfect time for picking apart your weaknesses and zeroing in on them to ensure your core strength is where it needs to be, your hamstrings are as mobile as they need to be and your ankle stability is on point!
Lana suggests the following exercises which she finds of benefit for many top soccer players in the down season, to ensure their game day ready when the next season rolls around!
- 1) Core Stability: it’s been a big buzz focus for the past few years, and for good reason. Soccer requires a lot of direction change under high speeds and all that agility comes at a necessary price. Good core control is essential on the field, and unfortunately is often over looked in a typical mid-season program. I find these following exercises great additions to your off-season protocol for reducing the risk of spine, pelvis and groin related injuries.
- a. Bridging: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bridging/
- b. Side to Side: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/side-side-feet-off-floor/ :
- c. Femur Arcs: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/femur-arcs-2/
- 2) Hip Dissociation: all that kicking required can mean soccer players are able to dissociate their hips from their pelvis at high speeds and under high loads. We often see this element of training ignored in mid-season training programs which are heavily focussed on fitness and ball skills. The following exercises are a must in the off seasons to continue to ensure players are able to dissociate their hip mobility from their pelvis stability and ensure a great kicking game.
- a. Bent Knee Fall Out: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bent-knee-fall-2/
- b. Arabesque: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/arabesque-2/
- 3) Lower Limb Strength and Agility: we all know soccer isn’t gentle on the lower limbs, ankles and knees in particular. While strength is an important requirement, the agility that is required of the feet, ankles, knees and hips in soccer is almost unparalleled. These exercises will keep you strong in the off season while ensuring your agility is not lost from too much concentric loading.
- a. Bulgarian Lunges: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bulgarian-lunge/
- b. Split Squats: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/squats-and-split-squats/
If you have a niggle that hasn’t resolved by now it may well be worth while seeking out the advice of a Physiotherapist to determine if there is any lasting damage or biomechanical abnormalities they can be improved before next season! After all prevention, as always, is better than cure!