Does Hydration Impact Performance
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By Najid Sheikh, INFS Faculty
Author: Najid Sheikh
Hydration is a necessary part of the human body's process to keep itself cool, and it's vital to make sure you're drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated. Without it, you risk having your performance affected. Even though it is individual-specific but studies do show that even 3% of dehydration can cause a decrease in strength, power, and endurance of the body ( Savoie et al.,2015 ).
It’s a good idea to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially around the training hours but it’s difficult to give you a number because hydration is highly individual specific. Different people can lose different amounts of fluid from the body mostly in the form of sweat and urine. The amount of fluid loss is dependent on various factors like temperature, water consumption, humidity, and the combination of food consumed. These fluids usually contain water and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc which are essential for different body functions like maintaining hydration, nerve signaling, contraction of muscle, and pH balance. When the concentration of these electrolytes is low then it can affect the body’s function and performance. In the worst case of dehydration, a person may blackout during an activity. Hence hydration is important for everyone who is into physical activity. Along with hydration one needs to replenish the lost electrolytes to make sure the body’s function is back to homeostasis and performance isn’t affected.
Here are some practical recommendations for hydration and electrolyte balance.
A combination of food rich in sodium and potassium can be consumed 1-2 hours before a workout as they are the major electrolytes that are lost via sweat during the activity. The food items can include oranges, bananas, grapes, dates, potatoes, etc
A person should keep sipping water throughout the training session, especially at an interval of every 5-10 mins of training, and should completely avoid feeling thirsty. Athletes who train long hours or those who sweat a lot can consider over-the-counter electrolyte drinks, along with the water which can help to restore the lost electrolytes.
Food items like milk and coconut water can further help in restoring the lost electrolytes and help in hydration.
- Savoie, F. A., Kenefick, R. W., Ely, B. R., Cheuvront, S. N., & Goulet, E. D. (2015). Effect of Hypohydration on Muscle Endurance, Strength, Anaerobic Power and Capacity and Vertical Jumping Ability: A Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 45 (8), 1207–1227. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0349-0
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