Did you know that thirst is a sign of dehydration? The problem is, by the time you feel thirsty, it may be too late to maintain proper hydration. Read on for hydration tips for athletes.

Optimal hydration is a key ingredient in the recipe for athletic success. That’s because water is essential for the body to function properly. Dehydration of just 1 to 2 percent of body weight can negatively impact performance, especially when exercising in hot and humid weather. Yet, many athletes are not drinking enough before, during, and after their workout. Let’s look at how much athletes need to be drinking and what the best beverages are to consume.

Check out this handout that explains the best ways to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout.

A good hydration plan can make a big difference in how you feel during practice and competitions. It’s also important to be mindful of fluid intake at other times of the day, too. A great strategy is to carry a reusable water bottle throughout the day to have easy access to water no matter where you are. It is also possible to get water from certain foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Following a balanced diet, along with drinking enough fluid, can help athletes maximize their athletic performance.