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Abstract

Proper hydration is essential for both mental and physical performance. The purpose of this study was to determine if education would improve hydration status in collegiate female gymnasts. Urine specific gravity (USG) was used to determine hydration status. Urine samples were collected from thirteen athletes, mean age (19.3 ± 1.3) immediately before and after practices. Three sets (2-3 USG measurements each) were collected at different times during the preseason/season. Mean USG before practice and mean USG after practice of all subjects was calculated. The beginning of the study (T1), athletes were unaware of sample collection. After T1, hydration education/strategies were provided. Athletes were instructed to implement hydration strategies and were made aware of measurements (T2). A third set (T3) of USGs were obtained at unannounced practices two months after T2 to determine if hydration improvements were maintained post-education. Ideally, athletes should begin practice at/below a USG of 1.020. A USG above 1.020 indicates significant dehydration. Mean T1 USGs were 1.021 before and 1.027 after practice. Mean T2 USGs were 1.009 before and 1.020 after practice. Mean T3 USGs were 1.016 before and 1.025 after practice. Although the end of practice T3 USG was not found to be significantly different than T1, the start of practice in T3 was significantly improved (p=0.001) from T1. These findings suggest that the education/strategies provided to collegiate female gymnasts improved hydration status and was maintained over 2 months. Data also showed that subjects were better hydrated when they had advanced notice of USG measurements (T2).

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