Miscellaneous Topics

Hydration and Sports


  • When the body heats up during exercise, it tries to cool down through sweating. As a result, it loses water and salts through the skin. This can cause dehydration. Dehydration can affect performance and reduce strength (especially during prolonged exercise). Because the body cannot make or store water, you must replace the water you lose by drinking an adequate amount of fluid.
  • The volume of sweat produced varies from a person to another, depending on a variety of factors, including: The intensity and duration of the exercise, the environmental temperature, and the clothes a person is wearing while exercising. The average sweat rate is estimated at 0.5-2.0 liter/hour during exercise.
  • The average person should drink at least 2 liters of water a day. Athletes usually need more water than the average person.
  • Thirst is not a reliable way to find out if your body needs water. You will not feel thirsty until your body has lost about 2% of its weight; so be sure to drink water even when you are not feeling thirsty.

How to stay hydrated?
  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise, especially in hot weather to prevent dehydration. 
  • Drink small amounts of water more frequently instead of drinking larger amounts at once less frequently.
  • Use cold drinks to lower your body temperature and reduce sweating.
  • Track sweat loss by measuring weight before and after exercise. Try to replace the water you lose by drinking the same amount of fluids lost. Drink about 1.25-1.5 liters of water for every kilogram your body loses during exercise through sweat.
  • Pay attention to the amount and color of your urine. A large amount of clear urine indicates that the body is getting enough water. Small amounts of urine, or dark yellow or concentrated urine, indicate dehydration.
  • Water is the best option to stay hydrated, unless you have been doing intense exercise for over an hour. Water hydrates your body without the extra calories, sugars, or acids found in some sodas that can damage teeth.

Other drinks:
When partaking in prolonged and intense exercise (such as long-distance running, football, or competitive swimming) for longer than 60 minutes, there may be an added benefit in drinks that contain some carbohydrates and other electrolytes, including sodium. The following are examples of some drinks other than water that athletes can use:
  1. Sports drinks:
    • Sports drinks contain carbohydrates in the form of glucose, as well as electrolytes (such as: Sodium). 
    • Sodium replaces the sweat you lose and prevents dehydration. Glucose replenishes the body's carbohydrates stock.
    • Sports drinks help improve the performance and recovery of athletes who do prolonged endurance exercises (60 minutes or longer), such as a marathon.
    • However, similar to soft drinks, sports drinks contain sugars. They also contain high calories and can cause tooth decay. Sports drinks are recommended only if you are participating in endurance sports, or in cases of severe sweat loss.
  2. Milk: Milk can be used as a post-workout recovery drink. It contains minerals that replace the quantities the body loses through sweating. It also provides nutrients involved in muscle functions and bone health (such as: potassium and calcium).  Milk naturally contains high-quality protein and some carbohydrates in the form of lactose.
  3. Energy drinks: They are not designed to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat and may contain other ingredients with stimulant properties (such as: Caffeine). Moreover, some of them are high in sugars, which may lead to weight gain if consumed in excessive quantities. They can also cause tooth decay.

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Last Update : 04 October 2020 01:29 AM
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