Student athletes struggle with hydration


Chart made by Anisa Sharma

According to a survey sent out on Dec. 7 asking student athletes at the high school about nutrition, 76 out of 123 students said hydration is a factor of health that they struggle with.

When asked, seventy percent of student athletes at the high school reported not drinking enough water every day.

Nutrition and hydration are extremely important for all high school students and especially for student athletes. With sufficient nourishment, athletes are able to perform at their best and prevent injuries.

Catie Szymanoski, coach of the boys varsity rowing team said she prioritizes nutrition, as it is an important long-term habit.

“I think nutrition and hydration are lifelong things we need to implement to be a healthy human and fuel your body correctly,” Szymanoski said.

Sahar Mumtaz ‘20 has been swimming competitively since the age of ten and now swims at Tufts University. Mumtaz said her swim coach at Tufts emphasizes the importance of staying hydrated.

“If we didn’t bring a water bottle to practice, he would make us do burpees or something,” Mumtaz said.

Making sure to stay hydrated can be a challenge in many other sports, including skiing. Mayra Hernandez, dance and wellness teacher and varsity alpine ski coach, said her athletes have to shift their mindset to include proper hydration into their training.

“During practices there isn’t much time for water and athletes really have to make time for it because our window of practice is so small and everyone’s just trying to get so many races in, so skiers have to be a little more proactive,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez understands the importance of hydration from her own experience. Sometimes during her dance classes, Hernandez said she will instruct for so long that her body will tell her that she needs a break. Because of this, she is considerate that her students need to take care of their bodies as well.

The Sagamore survey directly reflects athlete awareness about hydration. Of the 123 student athletes surveyed, close to 62 percent believed that they need to improve their hydration. An additional 12.5 percent responded that they might need to improve their hydration.

These students are correct. The general rule of thumb is to drink at least eight cups, or 64 ounces, of water every day. But according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the proper amount of water people should drink daily is around 15.5 cups or 125 ounces for men and 11.5 cups or 92 ounces for women.

Mayo Clinic says drinking 8 glasses of water is not a strict rule everyone should follow. When exercising, “you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss.”

The NCAA recommendations for an hour and a half long practice is that athletes should drink around 44 ounces of water before and during practice, and after practice athletes should drink 16 to 20 ounces for every pound lost while exercising.

Mumtaz said she needed a major shift to stay hydrated, so she changed her habits to reflect the amount of water her body requires to recover from workouts. In order to drink a sufficient amount of water, she believes a larger water bottle has been extremely beneficial as she no longer has to refill a small water bottle many times.

“I used to be really bad at drinking water, and then I got a big water bottle, which is like 40 ounces, that I have with me everywhere. I try to drink two to three of them a day,” Mumtaz said.

32 out of 70 responses from the survey recommended that to stay hydrated, athletes bring water bottles wherever they go. Some students specifically advised using water bottles with straws to make it easier to sip water all day and to be convenient when wearing a mask.

Hernandez said that, in the end, every person needs to figure out what works for them and find a way to prioritize their hydration.

“As athletes, we’re not invincible. We’re prone to taking risks and wanting to push our bodies to the limits,” Hernandez said. “But if you’re not able to support that with the proper nutrition and hydration, then you’re just doing yourself a disservice and you’re going to injure yourself.”

Chart made by Anisa Sharma
Chart made by Anisa Sharma