16 Dec Hydration for Sport
Good hydration is essential for anyone exercising to maximise performance, reduce risk of injury and improve recovery. Studies have shown that even a 2% decrease in body weight through water loss, (possible by sweating on a hot day in 1 hour), can cause up to a 20% decrease in performance.
Calculating how much fluid an individual needs varies and can be measured more accurately by regular assessment of the body weight during exercise and in different environments.
An alternative method is to check urine colour and volume!! However as this is impractical for most people, a rough guide is to have 300-500ml of fluid 15 minutes prior exercising and then take approximately 150-200ml every 10-15 minutes during exercise, depending on the conditions.
Usually cold fluids are more palatable during exercise. It is important that the fluid leaves the stomach quickly and so the drink needs to have a glucose content of less than 10%.
Water is fine if exercising for less than 90 minutes but an isotonic drink (e.g. Lucozade sport) is recommended if it’s for a longer period.
After exercise it is important to rehydrate and replenish the glycogen (the way body stores energy in muscles) used during exercise as quickly as possible. This is achievable with a recovery drink containing carbohydrate and protein.
Dr Zafar Iqbal
MBBS, BSc, DCH, DRCOG, MRCGP, MSc, Dip PCR, FFSEM UK
Head of Sports and Exercise Medicine Crystal Palace FC
The information provided by Dr Zafar Iqbal is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment.