For student athletes, August and September are crucial months for fall sports. Teams are chosen, and practice gets more intense as the lessons of summer camps get put into play in scrimmages and pre-season games.

So it’s a good time to remind athletes of all ages, particularly parents and coaches of teen and young athletes, about the importance of staying hydrated.

Experts in the field of sports medicine and science often talk about the importance of pre-hydrating. In other words, drinking regularly throughout the day so you’re properly hydrated before beginning physical activity. This will make it easier to stay hydrated throughout your work out, practice or game.

Next, it’s important to stay hydrated throughout a game or practice. And our industry offers a number of products to help athletes achieve proper hydration. Sports drinks are one option; in addition to providing hydration, they also help to replace electrolytes lost through sweat. Other products, such as bottled water, vitamin water or enhanced water, also can be good choices to help athletes hydrate.

All of these beverage products can help athletes perform their activity safely — without becoming dehydrated — particularly on hot days.

Check out the American Beverage Association’s products site for more information on all of our beverage products, including sports drinks, bottled water and water beverages.

So get out there, play hard and do your best. But don’t forget how important hydration is for your optimum performance. Your body needs it.