Two-a-days are here! Soccer, football, volleyball, cross country, golf, and tennis teams across our area are all practicing and getting ready for opening events in the next few weeks. Driving by a school and seeing the practices is a sure sign that fall is fast approaching. But at the moment, it is extremely warm in our area.

How can an athlete stay safe during practices and events in this hot, humid weather? One of the key things to do is to keep hydrated. That means taking frequent breaks and drinking plenty of water. Here are a few tips to keep you safe:

1. Drink before you get thirsty.
2. Take breaks every fifteen or twenty minutes to drink a cup of water.
3. Drink plenty of fluids in the non-practice hours of your day. What you eat and drink all day long will have an impact on your body during practice and events.
4. Avoid drinks with caffeine such as colas or energy drinks. They tend to dehydrate you even more.
5. The opinions on sports drinks vary. If you need the energy for a long endurance activity, they may be helpful. But for replacing fluids, usually water is fine.

Always listen to your doctors, coaches, and trainers for specific information. One of the best sources for sports nutrition information I’ve found is from the University of Illinois Extension Service. There are sections of the website that will help you plan healthy meals, maintain plenty of energy, and keep your fluid levels up. You can check it out here. See you at the game!