FEEL GREAT FOR SPORT: Be clever when it comes to fluid intake

The Northern Echo: THIRSTY WORK: England captain Steven Gerrard stops to have a drink during a training session ahead of tonight's World Cup opener against Italy Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA THIRSTY WORK: England captain Steven Gerrard stops to have a drink during a training session ahead of tonight's World Cup opener against Italy Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

It’s getting HOT!

But it’s going to be even hotter in Brazil when England open their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus tonight.

One of the things that you’re going to see a lot of during the tournament is drinks breaks, where the game will be stopped and the players allowed to regroup and top up on fluids. It’s a very smart move. Something that any football team involved in summer training to tournaments would do well to copy.

With that in mind, here are some tips on taking on board the right fluids at the right time, whatever exercise you’ll be doing over these next few weeks.

First up, it’s essential that you don’t wait until you are thirsty to begin to drink fluids, because by then, it’s too late and you are already dehydrated. It’s a fact that a 2 per cent drop in bodily fluids will reduce your ability to perform by somewhere close to 20 per cent.

Water is the obvious and cheapest way to hydrate. However, it’s important for you to understand when and how to consume it - in small but regular quantities throughout the week. Don’t wake up on the day or your game or your run and start doing it then - it can quickly bloat your stomach, reducing the amount of fluid you can consume.

It is also likely to make you need the toilet regularly. Plus, it doesn’t do much to give you energy. You’ll only find that in isotonic drinks. Energy is important in the hour running up to, during and immediately after competition and exercise. To achieve this I recommend non-fizzy isotonic sports drinks.

My advice is simple: This summer, consume water little and often through the week (8-10 glasses per day) and isotonic drinks (immediately before, during and after sport) to help improve your energy and lessen the time it takes to recover. When it comes to caffeine, it’s a big no-no. Avoid energy drinks, coffee and tea completely. None of them are going to help you like you hope they will.

And here’s something else to consider – it’s not just fluids that improves your hydration levels. It’s also found in the foods you eat: Virtually all food contains water, with natural, whole foods such as fruit and vegetables having high water content. Here are my top tips for foods you should consider consuming to help with your hydration levels: tomatoes, celery, carrots, strawberries and coconuts.

These foods alone are not enough to hydrate your body, however if you add these to your diet and you drink water little and often through the week, along with energy drinks around the time of exercise, you’ll be doing everything that Gerrard and Co will be doing to increase their chances of success in Brazil – I strongly encourage you to copy.

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