Looking for an easy way to increase your performance? The answer is as close as a bottle of water.

It's no mystery that playing sports makes athletes thirsty, and loss of fluid due to sweating can slow you down. That's why hydrating is a key component to health. Here's how to make sure you're staying hydrated for top health and performance:

How to Stay Hydrated

  • Make drinking water a priority every day, not just before practices or games.
  • Use your own special water bottle to easily plan your water refills for the day.
  • Drink a minimum of six to eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily, depending on your weight and activity level.
  • Limit the use of sports drinks to days when you participate in strenuous activity for a prolonged time.
  • Take hydration breaks every 15-20 minutes during practices and games, and make sure you drink several cups of water afterward.

Goals of Performance Hydration

  • Begin workouts in a well-hydrated state.
  • Maintain hydration throughout practice.
  • Maximize performance.
  • Improve ability to recover quickly from training and competition.
  • Minimize injury and muscle cramps.
  • Delay fatigue and maintain mental awareness.

Consequences of Dehydration

  • Performance declines with as little as 2-3% decrease in body weight from water (sweat) loss.
  • Increased core temperature and heart rate.
  • Decreased blood pressure.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • General feeling of fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle cramps.