Without a doubt water is an important tool to help keep us safe. Next to oxygen, water is probably one of the most important considerations for survival.
Proper hydration is key because water is the primary mode of transportation in our body. Our body depends on water to help process and deliver energy to where it is needed, carry waste away for processing and excretion, even getting O2 from our lungs to our brain and muscles.
As athletes we need to consider three issues related to hydration:
Armed citizens probably don’t need to worry about heat exhaustion and heat stroke as a result of a violent encounter, however, for LE and military folks this is a real concern when we start looking at protracted operations and the same is true for the average citizen that is thrown a nasty curve ball.
No less serious is the hydration considerations we need to take with our training. The violent encounter we are training for may last only 8 seconds, yet the training for the encounter could be 8 hours over the course of several days.
- body weight
What to hydrate with:
- You are never wrong to go with water, lots of water
- Sports drinks can be a good choice for extended training sessions or operations.
When I use sports drinks, I focus on a couple of issues.
- Keep carbohydrate level low. In general when using sports drinks for energy maintenance we are concentrating on the long haul high carb concentration is going to give us a quick burst of energy and then leave us bonked. I am a big fan of the Gatorade Recovery products. Although they are marketed for use after workout or event, I prefer these as they contain a substantial amount of protein for the long haul.
- Any other energy requirements come from food.
- Dilute, dilute, dilute. I typically douse that sports drink with 3x the same amount.
A few other considerations:
- proper hydration is rarely a primary focus for most
- if I have a big training event I prepare the day before and the morning of with regards to hydration
- makes me think that I need to pay more attention to hydration on a daily basis. I plan may training a head of time and I prep cause I want to do well and have the most positive learning experience possible. I won’t ever have advanced warning of the events that I am actually training for and it is infinitely more important that those situations go well. Proper hydration needs to be part of my daily routine just like carrying my gun.