I know that hydration is extremely important to casual athletes, serious athletes, the young, the old. Our bodies need water to help with the processes of daily life. In the heat and humidity that signify summer in upstate NY, we may need water more than just when we are exercising.
Training people, and it is a training exercise, to hydrate before it is necessary takes years. I have spent a lot of parenting time explaining the importance of hydration with water, as opposed to sports drinks, to my soccer players, tennis players, bicyclists and golfers. While all understand the importance, I think I have finally found a statistic that will drive home my point.
I have Versus’s Tour de France coverage on as I am working in the mornings for the next three weeks. Today is the second of two early mountain stages that are not the big mountains – not the Pyrenees or the Alps but just mountains. There are rules that prevent riders from going back to team cars to pick up additional water on climbs. These rules are in place for any number of reasons but the most important is rider safety.
The hydration statistic that I am sure will drive home importance to the athletes in my life is, and I paraphrase, five percent dehydration results in a 20% decrease in efficiency. There is nothing an athlete wants to do more than be efficient, whether it is in running, kicking, batting, hitting or cycling. So, for your own safety and your own efficiency, be sure to be hydrated.