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Importance of Hydration in Sports Performance and Health

How much water do you consume a day? Water is the most vital nutrient to human existence. We can survive far longer without food than without water.
Sedentary women should be consuming at least 74 oz of water a day and men should be consuming 101 oz.
The body’s requirement for water varies in accordance with several factors: environment, activity level, functional losses, metabolic needs, age and other dietary factors.

Paul Chek provides a reliable calculation for meeting our body’s needs. For your minimum daily intake, one should base the calculation on one’s body weight in in kilograms, (lbs divided by 2.2) and then divide that by 0.024. This level of water intake works out at 1 liter plus 1 cup (1250ml) for each 30 kg of body weight.

Example

  • An 80 kg person would require 3 1/3 liters per day = 80 kg divided by 0.024 = 3.3 liters per day.

Drink your way to better health- Hydration changes everything!

  • Protects organs and tissues
  • Lubricates joints
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Helps dissolve vitamins and increases bio-availability
  • Reduces the burden on kidneys and liver
  • Moistens tissues of mouth, eyes and nose
  • Helps prevent constipation
  • Increases muscle tone
  • Reduces risk of disease-Studies have shown that an increase in daily water decreases the risk of colon cancer  up to 45%, reduces the risk of bladder cancer by 50%, and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is also believed that water may prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infection

Stay hydrated with fruits and veggies!

Cucumber, Iceberg lettuce, spinach, celery(96%), raw radish, zucchini (95%) , Watermelon, strawberries, sweet peppers, green tomato (92%) , Cauliflower, orange, raspberries, peach(87%)

Signs of Dehydration

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Tired or sleepy
  • Decreased urine output
  • Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal
  • Headache
  • Dry skin-skin will “tent” when pinched
  • Dizziness

If you are thirsty, then your levels are already low. Consume small sips during physical activity to not overload the body systems. Ideally you should sip every 15 minutes.

Dehydration’s effect on Athletic Performance

  • Reduction in blood volume
  • Decreased skin blood flow
  • Decreased sweat rate
  • Decreased heat dissipation
  • Increased core temperature
  • Increased rate of muscle glycogen use

Hydration Before, During and After Exercise

Before Exercise

  • It is recommended that individuals drink about 17-22 oz. of fluid ~2 hours before exercise to promote adequate hydration and allow time for excretion of excess ingested water

During Exercise

  • Athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating (i.e. body weight loss), or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated
  • During exercise lasting less than 1 hour, there is little evidence of physiological or physical performance differences between consuming a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and plain water

After Exercise

  • Drink 600 ml of water for every pound of body weight lost through sweat during exercise with a natural recovery aid or suitable protein shake
  • If training for a prolonged period of time (+60 min), it is essential to have a carbohydrate intake to prevent blood glucose drops and increase glycogen stores in muscles.

Hydration in Sports Performance

Sweat losses of as little as 2% of body weight (less than 3 pounds in a 150-pound athlete) can impair performance by accelerating the onset of fatigue. This is important because some athletes can lose 5 to 8 pounds of sweat or more during practice or competition. So it’s easy for athletes to become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough to replace what is lost in sweat.

There is clear research to show that working at different intensity levels and duration will decrease blood plasma volume, but as long as you have been maintaining hydration throughout the day you will be fine to train. If you have not been drinking during the day to maintain your hydration, your body will be fighting for the use of water.

  • 15-20% decrease in 1 min bouts of exhaustive exercise
  • 7.7% decrease when training at 40% of 1 rep max
  • 13.9% decrease when training at 70% of 1 rep max
  • Sweating causes additional plasma loss
  • Reduced plasma volume will increase blood viscosity which has been linked to impeded blood flow thus limiting oxygen transport

What is Blood Plasma? Plasma is made up of water, plasma proteins, and cellular nutrients (such as electrolytes, enzymes, hormones, antibodies and waste products). Its primary role is to aid transport of the red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes) in and around the body at rest or during exercise.

Electrolytes are minerals (calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, sodium ions) in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes  affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function, and other important processes. The body loses electrolytes as it sweats.

SODIUM: Maintains water balance, activates thirst response, prevents water intoxication & hyponatremia, prevents cramps by enabling normal muscle contraction.  Influences performance of other minerals; enables nerve impulse transmission and maintains normal blood pressure

Potassium: Maintains water balance, stimulates metabolism of proteins & carbohydrates; helps muscles use glycogen and prevents muscle fatigue; enables normal muscle contraction.

Chloride: Maintains water balance; prevents dehydration, helps the body break down protein, absorb minerals & vitamin B12, enables normal muscle contraction, relaxation and nerve impulse transmission.

Magnesium: Participates in the conversion of ATP (adenosine triphosphate),  stimulates the metabolism of carbohydrates & fats; helps the body build proteins, decreases pain from sports-related injuries & excessive physical activity; enables normal muscle relaxation; prevents muscle cramps & spasms. Also, influences performance of other minerals; enables nerve impulse transmission; decreases vulnerability to disease; alleviates symptoms of numerous medical and psychiatric conditions

Sports Drinks are to be avoided

Do not count on sports drinks to provide you with the adequate amount of electrolytes, as most only include sodium and potassium.  Gatorade’s latest product introduction, Endurance, which claims to have five electrolytes and yet contains only a whopping 400 mg of sodium and 180 mg of potassium. What about the other electrolytes? Calcium and magnesium are mentioned; however, Endurance provides less than two percent of the Daily Value for these two critical electrolytes. A 2005 study published in General Dentistry reported that some popular sports and energy drinks destroyed tooth enamel more effectively than cola due to their high sugar content.

A balance of all electrolytes is necessary to maintain optimal hydration and endurance. Not only do you lose sodium in sweat, but you also lose other critical electrolytes like magnesium, and since most people don’t get enough magnesium, serious deficits can be occurring. The bottom line is to not count on plain water and sports drinks to meet your body’s hydration and electrolyte needs. Plain water (including bottled “mineral waters”) doesn’t contain a substantial quantity or balance of the essential electrolytes you require to stay adequately hydrated, replace electrolytes lost in sweat, and maintain optimum performance. As for sports drinks, the high-sugar content of most of these beverages often causes bloating, stomach cramps, and can impair your hard-fought training and performance at the moment when it may matter most.

  Adding electrolytes to water is a simple idea.  It provides pure electrolytes and nothing else. It powers rapid hydration and quickly replaces all lost electrolytes—not just sodium. It supports performance, stamina, and recovery, and delivers electrolytes evenly to ensure optimal hydration. And unlike sugar-loaded sports drinks, this metohd doesn’t involve calories, flavorings, sweeteners, colors or sugar, all of which hold the potential to hinder performance.  I use ConcenTrance Mineral drops in my water daily.  

Water is the most vital nutrient to human existence. Hydration is vital to any successful athlete. I hope this inspired you to tune into your daily water consumption and electrolyte balance. Cheers to H20!

References:

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance

http://www.acsm.org/

http://eletewater.com/uploads/elpdf/electrolytes_and_dehydration.pdf

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/behar12.htm

http://khsaa.org/sportsmedicine/gatorade/hydrationcriticaltoathleticperformance.pdf

http://www.kellygarsia.com/the-importance-of-hydration/

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