Dehydration: Is It Really a Threat?

Drinking water after run on beach

Nutrition experts tend to disagree on the minimum amount of liquid we should consume each day. For some, it’s at least 2-2,5 litres, for others, these claims are exaggerated and not based on science. But none of them queries that sportsmen and hobby athletes need to watch out for the signs of dehydration, or else their health can be endangered. The same way as in a sauna, intensive physical activity warms up the body to the point that it begins to sweat, and (especially if the weather is hot) performance begins to deteriorate due to the decreased blood flow and the increased rate of muscle glycogen use. You might remember that two years ago several athletes died in South Africa during a recruitment fitness test due to dehydration….

How to Prevent Dehydration

As always, the surest way to tackle a problem is by preventing it. Athletes often make use of urine tests before trainings to measure their hydration levels and make up for the missing liquid if necessary. But for the majority of us, fitness, bodybuilding, soccer or swimming is a pastime activity and we don’t even have access to these means. What should we do then? Experts advice that you shouldn’t forget to drink at each meal during the day. And take a bottle with you, so whenever you feel like it, you can take a sip. Try to monitor how much you’ve drunk so far, and drink a previously set amount each day even if you are not particularly thirsty. It’s also a good idea to drink right after a training session – in fact, you need to replace 1,5 times more fluid than the weight lost, since urine and sweat will continue to devoid you of fluids.

What to Drink

According to research, sports drinks that contain less than 8% carbohydrates are your best choice, as they outperform both plain water and fruit concentrates. Especially children under 12 (but adults as well) are prone to drink more of it, and stay better hydrated than those who drink water only: sports drinks contain electrolytes that are absorbed into athlete’s bloodstream faster, which accounts for the quick rehydration.

Tools That Help Prevent Dehydration

nathan-sports-speed-2We are all familiar with the bottles offered to marathon runners at street corners, but athletes are not always in the position to benefit from others’ care. In team sports, for example, you are usually not allowed to take a ‘drink break’… But in the majority of cases, a sportsman can look after his or her water supply by doing some arrangements beforehand, e.g. by taking special bottles with them. A relatively unsophisticated type available at Wildfire Sports is the Nathan Sports Speed 2 Waistpack that can store 300ml fluid in bottles placed in its pockets. You can fit it to your waist with an elastic Velcro-fastened belt. The pack is available in several sizes and colours and comes with Wildfire Sports’ price match promise.

Hands-Free Bottles?

black-wolf-fox OMG. If you prefer the latest technology, choose hands-free backpacks that get the fluid to your mouth through a pipe. Wild Earth’s Black Wolf Fox 01 Hydration Backpack is a premium example of this: the backpack itself has a storage capacity of 12 litres, and in itself weighs 800 grams. Its special feature is the air suspension back system that ensures good ventilation and the 2-litre bladder for fluids. There are other extras that serve sportsmen like a built-in rain cover, safety whistle, and the whole pack is comfy with padded straps. Through a recent promotion at Wild Earth, Black Wolf Fox 01 Hydration Backpack can be had at a 21% discount bringing down the price to $71.

camelbak-rogue-12-redIf you’d prefer something lighter, try CamelBak’s Classic 2l Hydration Bag currently listed with a 16% discount at 99 Bikes. This weighs less than 0.2 kg and is easy to handle. It can be filled externally via a quick-release flap on the front, and you can conveniently tuck away other items in the small pocket.

Don’t forget: anywhere you go, always take a bottle or an adequate backpack with you to prevent dehydration, which can reduce your performance even in its mildest form!


April 14, 2016

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