Fact: Sixty percent of a person's total body weight is comprised of water. Proper hydration prior to, during and after endurance sports competitions is critical for optimal performance as well as recovery from extended endurance exercise. During exercise, sweat increases to help cool the body, as a result your body loses valuable fluids during exercise.
Research has demonstrated that a reduction in body weight of only a few pounds (1-2% of your body weight) has a detrimental effect on endurance athletic performance. For example, if you are a 150 pound athlete and lose 3 pounds you have lost 2% of your weight due to fluid loss. If you loose greater than 3% of your body weight, you are at greater risk for heat illnesses like cramps.
Warning Signs Include:
How to Hydrate:
Drink approximately 2-3 cups of cold water 2 hours before the game and drink 1 cup 10-15 minutes before activity or during warm-up. This is probably the most overlooked aspect of proper hydration for hockey players. Many players drink plenty of water during the game, however, it will take about 2 hours for water your drink during the game to be absorbed into your system. Any water you're drinking during the game is not absorbed into your body until after the game is over. As a result you will not be properly hydrated during the third period, a key part of the game, and your performance will suffer.
Drink 3-4 cups of water every hour of activity or 1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes
Rapidly replace the fluids lost within 2 hours by drinking approximately 24 oz of water for every body pound lost.
What to Drink:
Cool beverages, such as water or sports drinks, at temperatures of 50-60 degrees are optimal. If the activity lasts longer than 1 hour, a sports drink is recommended. Fluids with salt are beneficial because they increase thirst causing greater voluntary fluid intake and the salt helps replace the amount lost in sweat. Warning: if you choose a sports drink, it should contain no more than 7% of carbohydrates per serving.
What to Avoid:
Avoid fruit juices, carbohydrate gels, sodas, alcohol, and high sugar sports drinks. These drinks can actually dehydrate the body.