Hydration in sport

However, few of us know whether such claims could be true and even fewer of us are likely to know the underlying mechanisms of fluid balances. Well, as you may already know, hydration is very important to athletic performance, optimal physiological function and ultimately general health. The human body generally will have a body water turnover of approximately 4 — 10 litres per day.

Hydration in sport

World of Sports Science:: Ha-Ja Hydration Hydration is the process by which water is ingested and absorbed into the body. Given the essential role that water plays in so many bodily processes, hydration is crucial to human function at any time.

Hydration is of special importance as a part of the preparation, participation, and recovery of every athlete from the stresses of training or competition. The antonym of hydration is dehydration. In the nomenclature of sport science, water and fluid replacement have similar meanings, with the two words used interchangeably.

The other companion terms employed in connection with hydration include pre-hydration, the ingestion of water prior to a training session or competition; over-hydration, a circumstance caused by the ingestion of water when the body's sodium levels are too low, which prevents the proper absorption of the water; and re-hydration, the act of water replacement at the conclusion of the dehydrating events.

Sports science has played a significant role in the advancement of the knowledge available to the athletic community concerning the importance of hydration. In the preseason American football training camps of 50 years ago, water on the sidelines was unknown; many coaches believed that water consumed during competition tended to bloat athletes, and water was handed out very sparingly.

Athletes in many endurance activities, where the hydration needs of the body are most acute, would not carry or otherwise have fluids available for their use during events. It is well understood in modern athletic training that water is the key to athletic comfort and performance.

Hydration, by definition, refers to water; in modern practice, hydration is often achieved through the use of a combination of water-based fluids, energy sources such as glucose-based products, and electrolytes such as sodium.

An understanding of the supreme importance of hydration in sports begins with the function of the cardiovascular system. When the water level in the body is reduced, the blood plasma levels are correspondingly less, which renders the blood less efficient as it is slower and thicker within the blood vessels.

How the blood plasma loses some of its water composition is tied to the function of the body's thermoregulatory system, which is the process by which the body maintains its internal temperatures within relatively narrow operating limits, irrespective of what the temperature outside of the body might be.

The thermoregulatory system includes the internal devices by which the body regulates its internal temperature, the most important of which are contained in the brain, liver, and cardiovascular system. The normal human temperature is Temperatures may vary on the peripheral surfaces like those of the cheeks, if exposed to cold or other factors.

During athletic activity, the body generates greater energy to provide muscle power; this metabolic process itself generates heat. In addition to the actual production of energy, the body is often exposed to external heat sources, such as warm outdoor conditions or an overheated gymnasium.

To combat the effect of these conditions upon the core temperature, the thermoregulatory system will prompt the cardiovascular system to transport warm blood from the core of the body to the cooler surface skin.

Through the action of the tiny blood vessels capillariesfluid, in the form of perspiration, is released to the surface of the skin through its pores. Subject to the humidity present in the immediate atmosphere, the perspiration will evaporate from the skin when released.

Perspiration is almost entirely composed of water, with some sodium and other minerals included. In this fashion, while the body endeavors to cool itself through perspiration, valuable water is lost from the cardiovascular system, and its function is potentially impaired.

The loss of water through perspiration has other important effects upon other performance systems. The central nervous system CNS conveys a ceaseless stream of signals to the working muscles of the body during an athletic activity. When the body sustains reduced levels of water through perspiration, it tends to also create a shortfall of sodium, a mineral of importance to both the monitoring of water levels that occurs in the kidneys, as well as with respect to the transmission of CNS signals.

Muscle cramps, an involuntary spasm of the muscle tissue, commonly occur when an athlete is both dehydrated and when the body has sustained a loss of sodium. There are a number of important hydration steps that every athlete should take, irrespective of either the sport or the athlete's level of ability, for both the preservation of the athlete's ongoing physical health and performance improvement.

The first is the regular consumption of water. Water taken regularly throughout the day is essential to the maintenance of a proper hydrated state, sufficient to support the additional stresses of training or competitions. One gallon of water, divided into approximate servings of eight 8 oz glasses each, will satisfy the typical daily requirements of most persons, in addition to what may be consumed through the needs of sport.

Water is utilized best by the body if it consumed in equal portions throughout the day. In the sedentary periods between exercise sessions, the consumption of high carbohydrate meals tends to promote the overall efficiency of water absorption into the body.

Hydration in sport

All athletic hydration strategies should be based on the premise that dehydration will begin to occur in advance of the activation of the human thirst mechanism.

By the time that an athlete actually feels thirsty, the body fluid supply will be as much as 1 qt 1 liter below its optimal level. Water or any alternate fluids used to promote hydration should not include either alcohol or caffeine, as each of the substances functions as a diuretic, those substances that promote the production and excretion of urine, a process that dehydrates the body.

For greatest effect during exercise, water or other appropriate fluids should be consumed immediately prior to and throughout the workout, at roughly equal intervals; 15 minute intervals for consumption is a useful standard.

After the workout or the conclusion of the competitive event, fluids should be immediately replaced in the body. Hydration has a number of other specialized considerations.When you play sports, drinking beforehand will help prevent dehydration, muscle cramps and getting tired too quickly.

Water is the best fluid to drink before playing a sport. Drink at least 1 to 2 cups ( to mL) of fluid up to 4 hours before exercise. Hydration in the pediatric athlete — How to guide your patients. Current Sports Medicine Reports. ; Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness and Council on School Health, et al.

Policy statement — Climatic heat stress and exercising children and adolescents. Hydration isn’t just important during physical activity. Sitting in the sun on a hot or humid day, even if you aren’t exercising, can also cause your body to need more fluids. People who have a heart condition, are older than 50 or overweight may also have to take extra precautions.

Replenish your hydration needs by drinking % of the fluid lost through sweating during exercise (use the calculator below). If you performed particularly long duration exercise in warmer conditions consume up to % of the fluid lost during sweat.

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