With the days starting to get a little longer and lighter, exercise regimes and training for spring and summer events are now in full swing
There is evidence to suggest that that for people carrying out prolonged exercise a 2% loss of body mass can result in around a 20% decrease in performance levels in temperate climates and up to a 40% decrease in hot temperatures.
The efficiency and length of training sessions can be improved by sipping water before, during and after exercise. The water replaces fluid lost through sweating and prevents dehydration, which is associated with poorer performance and wellbeing.
Professor Tom Sanders, adviser to the Natural Hydration Council and emeritus Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Kings College London said "Staying well-hydrated throughout training is important. If you sweat more than you drink while exercising, you can start to become dehydrated, which can affect performance and can also have negative effects on the body. Sipping water during and after exercise helps you to train more efficiently and recover more quickly from sessions."
"While sports drinks have a role to play, particularly for elite level endurance athletes, they are often used inappropriately as recreational drinks. It is important to remember that these drinks can contain quite a lot of sugar which adds calories to the diet."
"Water requirements vary from person to person and the recommendations are average requirements (2 and 2.5 litres/day for women and men respectively). The main determinant of water requirements is energy expenditure and roughly we need 1ml/kcal. Requirements are greater than normal during hot weather especially if the humidity is low and at high altitude."
Top Tips For Exercise Hydration
- For most people participating in physical activities, water will rehydrate you adequately without adding sugar, calories or additives into your diet.
- Sip water in small amounts before, during and after exercise.
- Replenish fluids regularly especially when sweat rates are high; you are in hot and humid conditions; or at altitude.
- Perform at your best and pack a bottle of water with the rest of your sports gear.
- An easy way to monitor changes in hydration status is to check the colour of your urine. This should be a pale straw colour - anything darker and more fluid is needed.
- Sports drinks may be beneficial for those undertaking regular high-intensity training and performance exercise lasting for more than one hour.
Factors That Can Influence Water Requirements
- Duration of activity.
- Intensity of activity.
- Sweat rates.
- Temperature of environment.
- Altitude (higher altitude increases breathing and loss of water).