Water is an essential component of the human body, accounting for roughly 60% of its total composition.
Dehydration refers to a lack of water in the body. Any athlete’s physical and mental performance will suffer as a result of dehydration. As a result, the effects of hydration on athletic performance should not be overlooked.
Because all cells, organs, and tissues are primarily composed of water, it is critical that all physiological processes in the body function properly.
Water transports nutrients and oxygen into cells, regulates body temperature (thermoregulation), acts as a lubricant and shock absorber to protect joints, the brain, and the fetus during pregnancy, aids digestion and waste removal, and is required to break down food so that it can be used as energy.
What is the best fluid to consume?
Water should be prioritized throughout the day. Athletes who train for more than an hour per day and in hot weather should consider including electrolytes in their drinks to replace sodium and other vital minerals lost in sweat in order to stay hydrated.
Athletes may need to factor in their carbohydrate demands during long training sessions and competitions to maintain sustained energy levels throughout, which can be accomplished by consuming a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink.
Why is sports hydration important?
Your body will be able to perform at its best if it is properly hydrated. Water lubricates your body, allowing you to regulate your body’s temperature through sweat and joints, allowing you to move more freely. Athletes must stay hydrated in order to maintain normal blood circulation, which aids in the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to all working muscles in the body. Carrying a bottle of water around can help you stay hydrated, especially during training.
Athletes Need Proper Hydration: Sports Performance and Hydration
Fluids (typically drinking water) should be consumed on a regular basis throughout the day to meet the demand for water for bodily functions.
You will become dehydrated if you do not drink enough water. In this case, the body cannot function optimally, and severe dehydration can result in serious health problems, including death.
Everyone’s body shapes and sizes vary, but it’s generally recommended to drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water per day to stay hydrated.
Many factors can influence hydration status and must be considered when implementing appropriate hydration strategies to avoid dehydration.
Your body uses body water to function and metabolize energy food, as previously stated. Other stressors that may accelerate body water loss include physical activity/exercise, environmental temperatures, illness, and various dietary practices, such as high/low carbohydrate intake.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of hydration for athletes, let’s look at how exercise affects hydration.
The Advantages of Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated has numerous advantages for bodily functions. It helps regulate our body temperature, keeps joints from rubbing together, delivers nutrients to cells, proper organ functions, stable sleeping cycles, maintains brain function, better performance, prevents constipation, and many other direct and indirect benefits.
How Can Proper Hydration Help Reduce Injury Risks?
Staying hydrated is essential for avoiding injuries caused by muscle fatigue, which increases the likelihood of injury. It is best to hydrate throughout the workout phases to compensate for sweat lost during the workout and avoid dehydration.
How Much Water Is Excessive?
The average person should drink at least 2-3L of water per day, plus 500ml-1L of fluids for every hour of exercise.
Excessive water consumption without the addition of electrolytes, such as sodium, can result in electrolyte imbalances and decreased blood concentrations, a condition known as hyponatremia.
Competing in endurance and ultra-endurance events in hot conditions can result in death if untreated or during extreme conditions.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
While there are no official guidelines for drinking water, it is recommended that you drink 2 to 3 litres of water throughout the day, drank little and often, plus 500ml-1L per hour of exercise.
- Hydration Prior to Exercise
It is advised to drink 400 to 500ml of water two hours before engaging in any form of exercise. During exercise, you sweat a lot to keep your body temperature stable. We must drink enough water to replace fluid lost through sweat.
Why is it necessary to drink while exercising?
Athletes will typically sweat between 0.5 and 3L per hour while exercising. Drinking during exercise is essential during prolonged, high-intensity exercise, especially in hot climates, because losing 2% body weight due to dehydration can significantly impair exercise performance.
How Can I Rehydrate Fast During Exercise?
Water is still the first port of call, regardless of training duration. This will suffice for short (less than 60-minute) training sessions, but as training progresses and you train multiple times per day, water alone may not be sufficient.
Sweat contains electrolytes (such as sodium) and water, so simply drinking water when sweat rates are high during prolonged training could lead to hyponatremia, a diluted effect caused by an imbalance between body water and sodium levels.
In this case, drinking a solution containing water and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium) is critical for restoring balance.
Electrolytes help with gastrointestinal absorption, cell water retention, and muscle and nerve function.
Carbohydrates may also be required during high-volume training, but they will not be absorbed properly if not adequately hydrated. This is a common cause of GI distress, so make sure you have enough fluids on board before beginning with the gels.
Hydra+, when mixed with 500ml water, is an ideal solution for hydrating before, during, and after training because it contains the necessary amount of electrolytes.
It also contains a small amount of carbohydrates, which are sufficient to fuel your workouts and improve brain and muscle function without causing GI issues.
Sweating’s Role in Sport Hydration (Hydration During Exercise)
Our core body temperature rises during exercise or any physical activity, which can include daily chores like gardening or vacuuming.
When this happens, our bodies will automatically try to maintain homeostasis by cooling itself (thermoregulation).
As a result, water is extremely important for athletes. The body will begin to sweat as a result, allowing water to evaporate from the skin and heat to be released.
Sweat rates can increase during prolonged periods of exercise, leading to dehydration if fluids are not consumed to compensate for this deficit.
This will eventually impair exercise performance and, in severe cases, can be hazardous to one’s health.
How Can I Rehydrate Quickly After Training?
You can rehydrate for optimal recovery if you calculate your changes in body weight during training based on the amount of water lost.
It is recommended to drink 1.5 times the total body weight loss, and this should always contain sodium to promote fluid retention. Otherwise, it will be eliminated through the urine.
Dehydration has the following effects:
- decreased blood volume
- decreased sweat production (thermoregulation)
- decreased cognitive function and concentration
- increased overall body temperature
- increased time to fatigue
- increased rate of muscle glycogen use