Did you know that we are made up of around 50-80% water? Did you know that water is considered to be an essential nutrient? These are facts that are easy to forget but remind us we need to provide our bodies with a constant supply of fluids in order to function at our best. This is especially important when we are taking part in any kind of physical activity, including Cheer!
So…., WHAT IS FLUID AND WHERE DO WE GET IT?
When we are talking about fluid, we are discussing anything that is liquid and provides us with water. Water is H20 – in chemistry terms two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. Water can be found in both the solid foods we eat and any fluids we take in. Did you know that solid foods contribute around 20% of our fluid intake?
See the list below for some good examples of how much moisture/fluid we get from certain foods and fluids:
- Source: Australian Food composition database
WHY DO I NEED FLUID?
We need fluid because such a large percentage of our bodies are made up of water. We also constantly lose water through sweat, tears, breathing (just to name a few) and therefore need to keep topping up our bodies with fluid to maintain our blood volume. Fluid is required to regulate our temperature, flush out waste products and is vital to keeping each of our organs functioning.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T GET ENOUGH FLUID?
Not replacing the fluid we lose can lead to a reduced concentration and energy levels, nausea, vomiting, fainting and diarrhea. Not getting enough fluid not only impacts our performance in cheer but also can be dangerous.
HOW MUCH FLUID IS ENOUGH?
If we look at fluid from drinks the below can be a useful guide to how much fluid we need on an average day:
|1-3yo||about 4 cups||about 4 cups|
|4-8yo||about 5 cups||about 5 cups|
|9-13yo||about 6 cups||about 5-6 cups|
|14-18yo||about 7-8 cups||about 6 cups|
|19yo and above||about 10 cups||about 8 cups|
- Source: Nutrient Reference Values
When we play sport or undertake physical activity, we lose water and minerals in the form of sweat. Fluid loss increases with the intensity of our exercise, and with higher temperatures and humidity. Therefore, when we partake in physical activity, we need to drink extra fluid to replace these losses.
DO I NEED SPORTS DRINKS?
Most of the time we do not needs sports drinks (eg. Powerade and Gatorade etc.) and these should be reserved for special cases. It is also not recommended that children drink sports drinks as they are usually very high in sugar which is bad for our teeth.
When you find that you are exercising for prolonged periods of time in very hot and/or humid conditions you will need extra water, as well as snacks. Think fresh fruit, a sandwich, a yoghurt or glass of milk – snacks such as these will help replace electrolytes as well as provide fuel to help you perform at your best.
Adult athletes may benefit from use of sports drinks but consider their use carefully as each has a different nutritional composition. Sports drinks are also usually designed for use when an athlete is training or competing for exercise that lasts for more than 90minutes, so consider whether this would be you. If you are an adult athlete and you are expected to train or compete intensely for long periods, sports drinks before exercise may optimize fluid and fuel levels. In this situation, taking sports drinks after an intense training or competition (especially if there is a short recovery period between sessions) can help with replenishing fluid, carbohydrate stores and electrolytes lost. Consider discussing use of sports drinks with a health professional, such as a dietitian, before using.
TAKE HOME MESSAGES
-Water is essential to optimal functioning and athletic performance
-Not getting enough fluid can have many negative impacts and can be dangerous
-Sports drinks are not recommended for children and should only be considered in special circumstances for adult athletes
- Source: Australian Food Composition Database http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/afcd/Pages/default.aspx
- Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/water