Last Updated on April 16, 2023 by Andrew Pirie
Water helps control blood volume, body temperature, and muscle contractions. Sweating is how the body regulates temperature during activity. Sweat evaporates, causing a loss of bodily fluid and heat loss. Temperature, humidity, and activity intensity enhance sweat production and fluid loss.
Replacing sweat-lost fluids requires drinking during exercise. This reduces heat stress, maintains muscle function, and prevents dehydration-related performance drops. Most athletes get dehydrated during activity because sweating is faster than drinking. Fluid guidelines encourage consuming more fluid to avoid dehydration deficits and performance losses. It’s easy to overdrink while exercising, though. Knowing your sweat rate and how much to drink is important. Get a fluid plan from your sports dietician.
Dehydration and Performance
Can you overdrink?
Drinking more than is comfortable can impair performance. In cool temperatures or when exercising slowly, perspiration loss is low. Drinking more than sweating is unnecessary and hazardous. Overhydration with exercise dilutes blood sodium (hyponatremia). Headaches, confusion, coma, and death are symptoms. This is rare, but; dehydration is more common.
Estimating your fluid losses
The sweat rate can indicate something to drink when exercising.
Sports dietitians measure an athlete’s sweat rate throughout training and competition to build a customized fluid regimen.
Follow these straightforward methods to measure your fluid losses:
- Weigh oneself in little clothing before a workout. Urinate before weighing.
- Start workout
- Weigh yourself at the end of your session, in little clothing, after drying off.
- Your weight change during exercise is the difference between sweat loss and hydration intake.
- Weight loss during exercise is mostly water (not fat) and must be restored soon after.
- Breathing, spitting, and vomiting cause small losses. Monitor sweat losses to know how much fluid to refill throughout training and competition.
Which drink is best?
You must choose the best drink from various possibilities.
Water alone can replace fluids in low-intensity and short-duration sports.
Adding glucose and electrolytes to water improves performance, especially in high-intensity and endurance sports.
If a drink tastes nice, athletes will drink more of it, which may help them fulfill fluid targets or rehydrate better. Fluid carbohydrate supply muscle energy and enhances the flavor. Sports drinks have this advantage over water. Sodium and other electrolytes are lost through sweat during and after exercise. Sodium stimulates thirst, boosts glucose and water uptake in the intestines, and lowers post-exercise urine output.
Salt can be eaten with post-exercise fluids. For additional information, visit the SDA fact sheet on Sports Drinks.
Increasing numbers of drinks contain caffeine. WADA no longer bans caffeine. Small to moderate dosages of caffeine (75-200 mg) can assist sustain exercise performance, reduce perceived effort, and not affect hydration status. Athletes often consume caffeine ad hoc and may be ignorant of its adverse effects. Consult a sports nutritionist or sports scientist about caffeine consumption and individual responses.
Alcohol isn’t a good choice after exercise because it hinders healing and rehydration. If you choose to drink alcohol after exercise, take care of your recovery needs first (replacing fluids, carbohydrate storage, and protein to aid muscle regeneration), then enjoy a drink in moderation.
- Dehydration can affect coordination, decision-making, perceived exertion, and heat stress.
- Try to match sweat rate with fluid intake.
- Drink slowly.
- Train your competition fluid intake plan.
- Weigh yourself before and after training and competition to determine your perspiration rate.
- Water is good for low-intensity, short-duration activities.
- Activities drinks are great for stop-go’ and endurance sports.
- Assess the consequences of drinking on your rehabilitation.
Fluids in Sport – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). (n.d.). Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/fuelling-recovery/fluids-in-sport/
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Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021-
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
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