Skip to main content

An Athlete's Guide to Functional Hydration

Posted by Jessica Windell on

Recent incidents of severe heat exertion in high school athletes have shed more light on the need to be cognizant of hydration and body temperature in hot, humid weather conditions.

Proper hydration often takes a back seat to nutrition when it comes to optimal athletic performance, however, staying properly hydrated before, during, and after any kind of physical exertion or exercise is crucial to keep the body functioning at its best.

In adults, a loss of 2% body weight due to dehydration and 1% in kids has been shown to have detrimental effects on athletic performance, likely due to decreases in cardiovascular system functioning, thermoregulation and central fatigue.

Kids and adults, especially those involved in strenuous athletic activity, need to recognize the signs of early dehydration to prevent any serious effects. Many young athletes don’t yet know the symptoms of dehydration, and are often distracted during the thrill of competition, making them more prone. It’s recommended to drink water based on your needs—how much you’re sweating. Jim White a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics advises to consume 24 oz of water for every pound lost after sports activity.

If you’re thirsty, you’re already on the road to dehydration. A great way to track your hydration is to monitor urine color. Urine should be a light yellow, similar to lemonade. When it’s darker, that’s a clue that more water is necessary. Other symptoms of dehydration include irritability, nausea, headache, muscle cramping, dizziness, and decreased performance, along with a noticeable thirst.

A little water can go a long way for good health, helping maintain joint lubrication, cleanses toxic waste from different parts of the body, slows the aging process and makes skin look smooth and clear.

Good ole H20 is always the best option to maintain hydration, not to mention other forms, too, like fruits and veggies (think kiwi, citrus, celery, and WATERmelon… see what we did there?). But if plain water tastes a bit too dull, there’s a whole new movement of innovative thirst quenchers that offer a great taste and some added benefits. Check out some of our favorites…

Essentia Alkaline Water

Bottle of Essentia alkaline waterWhat it is: Alkaline water is infused with trace minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium to elevate its pH to 9.5 (neutral is 7).
Why we love it: Most American diets contain too many acid-producing animal products and insufficient alkaline-promoting fruits and vegetables. Some believe drinking alkaline water counteracts this imbalance to improve bone and muscle health.
The facts: One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that older adults who followed an alkaline diet for three years maintained more muscle mass than the control participants.

C2O Coconut Water

can of coconut waterWhat it is: Slightly bittersweet coconut water comes from the clear liquid found in young green coconuts.
Why we love it: Touted as nature’s ultimate hydrator, coconut water contains high levels of electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
The facts: In remote areas of the world, doctors have successfully used coconut water intravenously to rehydrate patients in emergencies.


Bottle of Bamboo waterWhat it is: Bamboo water is kinder to our planet and derived from the leaves said to taste clean, fresh, bright, energizing, sweet and cool.
Why we love it: The low-calorie and fat free drink comes from bamboo leaves a key renewable and sustainable resource.
The facts: The Institute for Traditional Medicine says the plant is used in Chinese medicine thanks to its antioxidants, silica, fibre and anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves are traditionally used to heal fevers, insomnia and headaches among other illnesses.

Arty Artichoke Water

WBottle of Arty artichoke waterhat it is: A whole artichoke—including the heart, stem, leaves, and flower—is extracted into a bottle using a proprietary method to retain nutrients.
Why we love it: Sometimes balanced with lemon and fresh mint and packing just 40 calories per 8 ounces, artichoke water delivers liver-supporting phytonutrients like silymarin.
The facts: Artichokes are typically harvested close to manufacturing facilities in California, so they boast a low carbon footprint.

Vertical Water 100% Pure Maple Water

Bottle of Vertical maple waterWhat it is: Though traditionally processed into maple syrup, maple water is the unrefined tree sap that naturally travels through maple tree trunks in the spring thaw.
Why we love it: Slightly sweet and mild flavored, this refreshing beverage contains dozens of phytonutrients, including some unique to tree waters.
The facts: Drinking maple water conserves American forests by providing landowners a way to monetize their forests without cutting trees down.