Beat the Heat: How to Stay Hydrated When Playing Tennis
Tips on how to stay hydrated on hot summer days…

There is no better time to play than the summer.  But it is critical that you stay hydrated.  Here are some easy to follow tips:

  1. Before a big match, start hydrating.   According to the American College of Sports Medicine, to avoid dehydration, active people should drink at least 16- 20 ounces of fluid one to two hours before an outdoor activity. After that, you should consume 6 to 12 ounces of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes that you are outside.
  2. Drink the right beverage: Some beverages are better than others at preventing dehydration.  For low to moderate exercise, water is sufficient.  But, if you plan to be playing tennis in the sun for more than a few hours, you want to hydrate with some kind of sports drink. These replace not only fluid, but also chemicals like sodium and potassium, which are lost through perspiration. Too much or too little sodium and potassium in the body can cause trouble. Muscle cramping may be due to a deficiency of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium.  Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, teas, energy drinks and colas, are not recommended for optimal hydration. These fluids tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration. Fruit juice and fruit drinks may have too many carbohydrates, too little sodium, and may upset the stomach. If you’re going to drink fruit juices while exercising, you may try diluting them with 50% fruit juice and 50% water first.
  3. Ice cold beverage on a hot day is not the best choice while playing tennis.  Lukewarm beverages are recommended for exercise since your body has to warm up the water or sports drink to use it.
  4. Continue to hydrate after your tennis match.  When you are finished with the activity, you should drink more. How much more? To replace what you have lost: at least another 16 to 24 ounces (2-3 cups).

What are the signs of dehydration?

  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • flushed skin
  • heat intolerance
  • light-headedness
  • dark-colored urine
  • dry cough

The best way to beat dehydration is to drink before you get thirsty. If you wait until after you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.  If you suspect that someone is dehydrated, seek immediate medical attention.

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