07/07/2016

Why Is It Important for an Athlete to Stay Hydrated?

Summer is a great time to focus on your exercise training. With vacations around the corner, we want to look and feel our best. The summer brings with it warmer weather, longer days and less rain, so it’s easier to get out there and take your exercise training out into the fresh air. However, this warmer weather does mean certain complications for your training regime. One crucial fact to consider is making sure that you are properly hydrated. Dehydration can be bad for your performance, as well as dangerous. In this article, the experts from Athletic Republic of Humble would like to explain a little more about the importance of staying hydrated during summer training.

How Do Our Bodies Regulate Hydration?

Your body is made up of around 60 – 75% water. When completely deprived of water, humans can only survive for a few days before becoming seriously ill. It is the most important nutrient that we consume. The amount of water in your body and bloodstream needs to remain at a constant level for your cells to be able to function properly. Cells are the building blocks of every part of the human body – organs, nerves, muscles, etc. Water is brought into the body in the form of food, drinks and respiration. It is removed from the body through sweating, breathing, and excretion of urine. The kidneys are the primary organ responsible for maintaining stable water levels in the body. They do this by producing more dilute urine if water is in excess, or more concentrated urine if it is scarce. As water passes through the kidneys, sugars and salts are reabsorbed, along with the necessary amount of water. The kidneys work in response to changes in levels of water in blood plasma. Blood plasma concentration is affected by external temperature, exercise, salt levels, and fluid intake.

What Happens When We Become Dehydrated?

When levels of 1 to 2% dehydration are reached, a signal is sent by the hypothalamus in our brain to make us feel thirsty. In normal, day to day life this mechanism works very effectively, and we are not at a high risk of becoming dehydrated. However, for an athlete, the consequences of even low levels of dehydration can be severe. Studies have shown that exercise performance is impaired at levels of dehydration as low as 2%. Prior dehydration (going into a race already dehydrated) of only 2.5% can reduce your capacity to perform high-intensity exercise by as much as 45%. Dehydration leads to:
  • A reduction in circulating blood volume
  • Decreased blood flow to the skin
  • Reduced sweating
  • Poor dispersion of heat
  • Increased core temperature
  • Increased muscle glycogen use
Before undertaking any summer training program, it is essential to get advice from the experts. Athletic Republic of Humble offers targeted sports training programs and work with you to ensure you are performing your routines safely. To learn more about the benefits of moving your exercise to a sports training center, speak with us today by calling 832 644 8276.

Internal Temperatures

Your body regulates its internal temperature by controlling amounts of perspiration (sweating) and the amount of heat that is lost through the skin. When aiming to reduce core temperature, rates of perspiration increase and blood is directed towards the skin so that heat can be dispersed across it. When a person is dehydrated, levels of perspiration are reduced as no excess water is available to be lost. Blood flow is also diverted away from the skin as blood volume is reduced, so it is focused towards areas such as organs that are essential for survival. This means that core body temperature can rise, and athletes are at risk of heat stroke along with other, more serious conditions.

So, How Do We Maintain Good Hydration?

First of all, don’t wait until you are thirsty to have a drink. Try to drink regularly throughout the day to make sure that you are not becoming dehydrated. Water should be consumed before, during, and after any period of exercise. If you are exercising longer than one hour, you should supplement your hydration with an electrolyte drink to ensure that you are also replacing the salts lost through perspiration.

Reach Your Targets Faster with Professional Sports Training in Spring

While it may seem basic, adequate hydration is crucial to a safe and successful sports training workout. If you would like to find out more information about the benefits of hydration, or if you are interested in reaching your goals faster and safely, speak with a trainer at Athletic Republic of Humble at 832 644 8276.