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Hydration is essential for human function as it helps to support the body’s physical activities and mental health. Without adequate water intake, the body may become dehydrated, leading to a range of health issues ranging from headaches and dizziness to more serious conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

With global warming we can expect long hot summers to become the norm. Last summer was one of the hottest of record, with long periods of heatwaves. That had a big impact on recreational sport, and highlighted the need for correct hydration. Sports like cricket and cycling, which can last all day, require athletes to take on board a lot of fluid. Failing do so, can have a big impact on their performance. Here’s a handy guide to spotting the signs of dehydration and why fluid intake is so important.

Symptoms of dehydration:

  • Feeling thirsty, tiredness, sluggish, headaches, irritability, mood swings, reduced alertness.
  • Keep an eye on your teammates for more serious conditions:
    • Confusion
    • Seizures
    • Heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

If any of these are suspected, then speak to a medical professional.

In sport, hydration helps to fuel awareness and coordination, helping to control muscle contractions and avoid fatigue. Correct hydration also helps to deliver oxygen to muscles and tissues, aiding in digestion and absorption of nutrients. Furthermore, it helps to regulate body temperature as well as metabolism and organ function. We are all individuals and require different amounts of fluids throughout the day, and this could vary because of medications and the amount of how much someone sweats.

In summary, hydration helps to keep the balance of electrolytes in the body and provide essential vitamins and minerals that are required for good health. Therefore, staying hydrated is vitally important to maintain mental and physical health. It is something all ages should be aware of. Just as importantly, it helps to keep you performing at an optimal level and gives you the best chance of winning on a Saturday!

Did you know it’s easy and cheap to make your own isotonic sports drink? Here’s a handy recipe for you to screenshot the next time you’re walking around the supermarket:

  • 4x Gelatine leaves, leave 5 mins to soak in water.
  • Discard the water and squeeze the leaves and boil the leaves in fresh 1 litre of water until they have dissolved (takes about 5 mins).
  • Then pour the mixture into 2 bottles, top the rest up with orange juice and carbonated water.

Overall, this makes about 2 litres of fluid.