Sports Hydration | Isotonic Drinks

Sports Hydration

Sports Hydration ? In this post we give you tips on sports hydration. For any athlete it is very important to establish some hydration guidelines because in the course of physical activity you can lose 1.5 to 3.5 liters of fluid per hour through sweating.

In addition, it is quite frequent that you do not notice the sensation of thirst and stop drinking without having completed the optimal level of sports hydration.

Sports HydrationImportance of sports hydration

The greatest amount of water is stored in the muscle (72% of its weight is water). Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints and helps transport nutrients. If you are not properly hydrated, your body can not function at an optimal level and you may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more severe symptoms.

Sports hydration the water transports the heat generated by the muscles when you perform sport to the skin and through the blood, so that it can be eliminated by sweating. This allows you to lower the temperature by evaporation so that there is a balance between the heat produced and the heat removed. During exercise, the heart rate is also accelerated, in order to provide the cells with the necessary nutrients and oxygen through the circulation.

You must correctly plan sports hydration. Do not wait to be thirsty to drink. You must do it before, during and after the exercise.

Fluid replacement in athletes

As a theoretical value, you should drink 1 liter of liquid throughout the day for every 1,000 kcal consumed. It is important to consume liquids before, during and after training or competition.

Sports HydrationHydration before exercise

Before starting the training or competition you must be well hydrated. A dehydrated athlete can take up to 24 hours to replenish their fluids. We recommend consuming 400-1000 mL of fluids before exercise, more or less during the previous 1.5 hours.

You must bear in mind that super hydration or drinks with a diuretic effect (coffee, tea …) will make you need to urinate in the middle of training / competition. Therefore, do not consume more water than recommended since it will not benefit you, on the contrary.

You can check if you are well hydrated before exercising by checking the color of your urine. It should be as clear as possible. If it is dark, it means that it is very concentrated and you should drink more fluids.

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Hydration during exercise

During the exercise you lose water by sweating, the heart rate accelerates and the volume of blood is reduced since it contains less water. The heart begins to pump faster and stronger to continue to provide the cells with the nutrients and oxygen they need. So, hydrate while doing sports, improves your performance and helps you control your heart rate.

You must find your own guidelines, since fluid requirements vary from one person to another depending on sex, age, type of sport, intensity of physical exercise, temperature or humidity, and even the type of clothing. With the help of your Sports Nutritionist, you can state that you should drink during training / competitions and how often you should do it.

In general, to get optimal hydration, you should drink regularly about every 20 minutes.

In the milder activities it is enough to drink water because the lost electrolytes can also be obtained through food.

In long-term endurance activities, you can use energy or isotonic drinks that contain electrolytes and carbohydrates (fructose better than sucrose) to preserve glycogen stores. These preparations have a pleasant taste and help you to be active for a longer period of time.

Hydration at the end of the exercise

Water also serves to eliminate in the urine waste substances produced by the effort you make during training / competition. Its accumulation in the body reduces sports performance, causes fatigue and promotes cramps and soreness. Help your body eliminate them with an adequate supply of liquids post training / competition.

Therefore, when you finish physical activity it is necessary to replenish losses as soon as possible. Especially, during the first hour after, since it is the moment in which the body is more dehydrated.

How to choose your sports drink

To select your sports drink you should avoid those that have a high content of sugars, sodium and caffeine. For a good sports hydration, get used to review the nutrition information label.

Caffeinated beverages are diuretic, increase water loss by stimulating urinary activity. So they favor dehydration. In addition, caffeine stimulates the physiological mechanisms of stress, increases insulin levels (stimulating appetite and the accumulation of body fat) and reduces blood sugar and the levels of some minerals (magnesium, zinc and iron); so your performance decreases. We only recommend them in endurance sports of many hours, for the last period of the competition.

Soft drinks or carbonated drinks are not a good option either. Apart from the excessive supply of sugar, they cause gas and bloating.

Many sports drinks, because of their high phosphorus content, displace calcium from bones and can alter growth, bone metabolism and increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

 How to know if you are dehydrated?

You become dehydrated when there is no adequate balance between the fluid you lose and the fluid you drink. If your body does not have enough water, it will not perform its functions correctly.

You lose water through urine, expiration processes, sweat and feces. There is a physiological signal that is thirst, to recover what is lost in these cases.

Dehydration is cumulative. You can become dehydrated in days after the training or competition if you do not completely hydrate between them (before, during and after). It can trigger gastrointestinal discomfort or nausea. You will avoid this by drinking every little bit, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Dehydration slows the metabolism by 3%, with an effect similar to the consumption of 60 kcal more per day. This can be converted into a gain of 3 kg of weight per year. It also increases the perception of fatigue and reduces performance and concentration.

Symptoms of dehydration

Among the symptoms of mild dehydration are: dizziness or feeling of lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, dry mouth, lack of sweating, fast and fast heart rate …

The symptoms of severe dehydration are: mental confusion, weakness and loss of consciousness.

Do sports garments affect the loss of fluid?

Many athletes wear pants, T-shirts or non-breathable clothing. This prevents the evaporation of sweat and the dissipation of the heat generated with exercise. This increases body temperature producing more sweat, increases water losses and leads to a state of dehydration.

Trying to lose weight through exercise with non-breathable garments is dangerous and ineffective. You will not be able to train with the desired intensity or duration and you will be fatigued shortly after starting the sports session.

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Hasibul Hasan Jini

Hasibul Hasan is a qualified journalist. He writes on varied topics and carried out extensive research on various topics on his blog Natpat.org

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