With the daily temperatures at the Circuit of The Americas expected to exceed 100° F. during this weekend’s MotoAmerica Superbikes at Texas event, MotoAmerica’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Carl Price offers some advice and information about staying properly hydrated. Racing, working, and even spectating in high heat requires planning and care to avoid heat-related illness.
1. Hydration. Hydration. Hydration.
Drink before you are thirsty. Your hydration needs increase with heat and activity. Sweat loss can increase to 3 to 4 liters per hour in athletes. Making a hydration plan is preferable to winging it.
2. Replace Electrolytes.
A rule of thumb is one bottle of electrolytes to two bottles of water. Sweat contains electrolytes (mainly sodium and potassium), and drinking water without electrolyte replacement can be dangerous. Dr. Price recommends Pedialyte®. It is the best oral electrolyte replacement. Pedialyte is well-tolerated and palatable. It can be readily purchased in powder form in packets or in premixed liter bottles. There are also other products available like Gatorlyte® and Liquid I.V.®. Sports drinks generally have fewer electrolytes and too much sugar.
3. Pay Attention To Your Urine Color And Frequency.
Frequent urination is good. Urine color should be light-yellow to almost clear. Darker urine indicates inadequate hydration.
4. Cooling Off Is Key.
Have a cool place to get out of the sun and heat. In the absence of air conditioning, shade, fans and evaporative cooling can suffice. While acclimation can be important in the weeks before an event, on the day of, keeping core temps down is a better strategy and can enhance performance.
5. Watch For Signs Of Dehydration.
Dry, sticky mouth. Decreased urine production. Dark urine. Cool, dry skin. Headache. Muscle cramps.
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