Hydration fueling the ‘sense-involving’ sport of gymnastics

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The human body is a working machine. Many things need to go into the body to keep it going and functioning properly. In order for the body to survive, it depends on water — every organ, cell, and tissue survives works off of water.

“I think [staying hydrated] is very important just because your body is made up of mostly water, so the body needs the water to hydrate,” said senior Baely Rowe. “With sports, we do a lot of running and exercising, so we need to stay hydrated to be able to perform the way we perform.”

Water helps keep the body healthy by maintaining the core temperature, removing waste and keeping the joints loose. Junior Maddy Stover explained that the nutrition staff at the University of Utah gives the gymnastics team — along with other teams at the school — information about hydration.

Stover added that during practices, they team takes water breaks throughout, because hydration is a big part of their overall health.

“The more hydrated your muscles are during practice, the better you will feel after — have more energy, your joints feel better,” Stover said. “I have arthritis, so it is something I really have to work on.”

Keeping hydrated is essential, especially for athletes, because the body loses water everyday from going to the bathroom, sweating, breathing and more. The process accelerates in the summer or while doing physical activity, or even during a flu or cold. If the water that is lost isn’t replaced, the body can become dehydrated.

Dehydration is a problem that doesn’t extend to athletes alone and there are many symptoms that indicate the body has become dehydrated. For Stover, she notices that her lips get chapped and she sometimes get a bad headache. For Rowe, she can feel it in her skin.

“I tend to either break out or get dry, so when I do drink water I feel not only healthier, but better,” Rowe said. “My face and my skin feels a lot better.”

Those who are more active are at higher risk of dehydration because the body loses water more quickly. When the gymnasts become dehydrated, Rowe notices that their energy levels go down and their muscles aren’t fueled correctly.

To help keep the body fueled, Rowe said that they take recovery drinks like corepower and chocolate milk, but they also use Cheribundi, which is protein juice. According to Stover, the main thing for the Red Rocks is muscle recovery.

“How our bodies feel is very important in our sport because it is very kinesthetic,” Stover said. “It’s all sense-involving so the more your muscles are awake and feeling good, the better the outcome of the performance.”

Most people have heard that drinking six to eight glasses of water a day is a reasonable amount of water to keep the body hydrated. It all depends on the person, however; every person requires a different amount of water. While some can stay hydrated on less, others may need more.

For Rowe, before she drinks her morning coffee, she drinks a glass of water. Then throughout the day, Rowe will take sips during her classes and she drinks a lot during practice. Rowe said she is never without water, and she always keeps a water bottle on her.

While most peoples’ go-to is water, like Rowe and Stover, drinking any kind of fluids when thirsty can combat going hydrated, even coffee. Fortunately for Rowe and Stover, they are avid coffee drinkers.

“You can ask anyone on the team and they will tell you I’m an avid coffee drinker,” Stover said. “I also really like fruit-infused water so a lot of us put those meos squirts in our water to add flavor.”

Rowe added that while regular and flavored water is great, sometimes the body needs those electrolytes that can get lost during practice so drinking powerade is another go-to for the team.

“[Staying hydrated] is definitely a challenge,” Stover said. “It is something we have to work on consistently, and so far, [dehydration] hasn’t impacted our training or our performance.”

e.white@dailyutahchronicle.com

@emileewhiteee

Emilee White
Emilee White has been at The Daily Utah Chronicle for over a year, and she is currently the the assistant sports editor. She started her sports writing career with SwimSwam, and she has done an internship with the Deseret News.

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