Arguably the most important component to sports preparation is Hydration. Maintaining your fluid intake is essential to a successful work out.
Why is HYDRATION so important?
Our bodies are made up of water. For a young, healthy adult male, water makes up 60% of their body mass. For females it is 50%.
The ‘Dehdration Graph’ shows what happens to performance as we start to dehydrate: Increase in dehydration = Decrease in performance
During exercise, your body loses fluid through sweat; this can cause you to become dehydrated.
Sweating itself is a part of your body’s natural thermoregulation which helps to cool your body down. During high-intensity activity, or in times of warm temperatures, your body will produce more sweat, increasing your risk of dehydration. Dehydration, however, is still possible even after losing a small amount of fluid through sweat.
It is important to drink fluids before, and during, exercise to maintain hydration.
Hydrate mostly with water, however some electrolyte drinks are helpful during and following exercise to replace the salts lost through sweating. These salts include sodium, magnesium and potassium which are all very important for nerve conduction in the muscles. Replacing these salts after exercise can help with muscle fatigue and reduce the risk of cramping.
Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and energy drinks are diuretics. Alcohol also fits in this same category. These fluids draw water out of the body’s cells and increase your risk of dehydration. Caffeine should be avoided at least one hour before exercise, and alcohol for 24 hours, to optimise your hydration levels and give you the best chance at improving your sporting performance.
Why are we so worried about DEHYDRATION?
Dehydration negatively affects sports and athletic performance. Symptoms can include dark urine, low urine output, weakness, dry mouth, or dizziness. Here is a scale you can use to determine your level of hydration:
CLEAR: well hydrated
light to moderate YELLOW: dehydrated
DARK: severe dehydration
Remember, if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!
If you missed Part One read on HERE!