Hydration Strategies to enhance performance

As dehydration is a major cause of fatigue that leads to a thickening of the blood and overall reduction in the ability to carry and transport oxygen in the blood it is important that athletes avoid this by consuming fluids and remaining hydrated. It is estimated that athletes should aim to have 500-1000mL per hour of an event.

  • A way to calculate how much fluid is needed to rehydrate after a long event is to calculate the amount of weight in kilograms(kg) lost by the individual and for every kg lost they should drink 1 litre of water.
  • As well as water the body also loses important salts that can be replenished with the use of sports drinks.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are a combination of salts, sugars and water. Some popular examples include:
• Gatorade
• Powerade
• Staminade
• Endura.

There are three different types of sports drinks

Isotonic sports drinks

Are the most widely used as they are thought to increase uptake of water and carbohydrates slightly then plain water. They typically contain 6-8% carbohydrate. An example would be powerade.

Hypertonic sports drinks

Are usually used after prolonged endurance events as they contain higher amount of carbohydrate, greater than 8% carbohydrate. An example would be fruit juice.

Hypotonic sports drinks

Contain low amounts of carbohydrates and more fluids,they are usually absorbed very quickly by the body. Are most suitable for athletes that have not been doing prolonged high intensity exercise for example a goal keeper. They usually contain less than 8% carbohydrate. examples include water.

Rehydration via (IV)Intravenous drips

Intravenous drips work to rehydrate the athlete by having a needle connected to a bag containing fluid which is directly placed into the bloodstream. This can be advantageous to the athlete as it is a faster way of getting fluids into the body and it can prevent stomach aches and cramps that can happen as a result of ingesting a lot of fluid. However as a needle is involved there is a risk for infection. Due to this risk the world anti-doping authority(WADA) have banned the use of intravenous drips to rehydrate unless it is necessary and the individual has medical authority to do so.