Hydration among Athletes

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Athletes need proper hydration in order to compete successfully. Training and running is a time-consuming process that necessitates staying hydrated in order to perform well. Athletes must stay hydrated in order for their bodies to function optimally. The fluids in the body are critical in ensuring that the cells perform properly and provide the requisite energy during the competition period. Athletes need water before and after running for physiological purposes. Hydration prior to competition offers sufficient reserves that would be depleted during sweating times. Water makes the body physiologically fit to run long distances without easy fatigability. After doing exercise, water is crucial for replenishing the fluids lost through sweating (Pelly, 2016) Moreover, dehydration has negative consequences on the functions of body tissues and can impair mental and physical performances and may result in serious health risks such as acute renal failure that may worsen to sudden death to the athletes.

Importance of water to the athletes

During exercise such as long-distance marathon, the metabolic state of the body rises due to glycolysis which results in liberation of heat. Water is crucial in cooling of the body. The heat liberated during metabolism heats up water in the body and comes out as sweat that escapes from the surface of the body resulting in cooling effects. Again, the blood flow to the skin is enhanced due to dilatation of the vessels. The blood carries the heat liberated from the inner core of the body to surface leading to liberation of heat and cooling of internal tissues. Water that has the heat generated by metabolism at tissue level is carried to the skin and released as sweat to the atmosphere. The product of sweating is cooling effect on the surface of the body and internal tissue are cooled making them to function efficiently and carry out the specific metabolic activities.

However, through sweating the body losses critical components of fluids in the body. Sweat has abundant sodium chloride that is lost from the body extracellular compartments (Mascherini, 2015). The increased sweating during exercise can therefore derail the electrolytes concentrations in the body leading to various symptoms such as convulsions due to hyponatremia. Therefore, it is crucial for the athletes to be well hydrated with fluids that have different minerals such as sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium which are necessary for proper functioning of the cells. All the biochemical reactions that occur in the body takes place in the presence of fluids. Athletes who are well hydrated can sustain long distant marathon because of efficient metabolic reactions in the body that provides efficient energy to drive muscle contractions and other tissue functioning. For all the athletes, hydration becomes significant during the exercise since it is the backbone to energy production that facilitates the entire process of exercises.

Water replacement among the athletes

Athletes should bear in mind that it is physiologically good to drink little amount of water frequently rather than taking boluses of water at once. Drinking too much water at a single time is associated with some discomfort due to fluid overload in the body. It can prevent effective physical activities due to increased frequency of micturition while at the same time doing exercises. Instead, they need to constantly drink water during exercise little amount at a time. Drinking less amount of water makes the body to adjust with the increase of intravascular fluids without causing fluid imbalance that may have deleterious effects on the body. The athletes should remain hydrated by consuming not greater than 8.0 oz. within a period of fifteen to twenty minutes (Meyer, 2016). The fluid facilitates proper functioning of the cells by maintaining their integrity and provide a medium for the various biochemical reactions in the body.

Moreover, the athletes should replenish the electrolytes and fluids lost in sweating (Pettersson, 2014). Normally, there is little sweat that may have insignificant effects on the electrolyte states of the body but with increased sweating, more sodium chloride is released through sweating leading acute electrolyte disturbance and this affects many tissues and organs in the body. The current recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine suggests taking about twenty-three fl. Oz. for every pound of weight that individual lose while doing exercise. The fluid is meant to ensure effective circulation for provision of adequate nutrients in the body.

Lastly, the athlete should drink water slowly between the period of finishing the exercise and two to three hours before the next workout. The periods enable absorption of water into the bloodstream and its distribution via blood circulation to other parts of the body. After two to three hours, the exercise induced consumption and loss of fluids gets when there are adequate fluids in circulation that it cannot deplete despite vigorous training or workout (Driskell, 2016)

Options of water intake

Water still remains the highest and most popular drinks for the athletes. Athletes always get relieved of fatigue when they take water especially after a very long and tiresome workout. Water flushes out lactic acid that accumulates within the tissues due to anaerobic respiration. So many athletes find it necessary to take water for improvement of effective circulation in the bloodstream. Some athletes pure water to quench their thirst and relieve associated symptoms although current understanding has dug deep on the mineralized water to determine the combinations which has the best advantages to the athletes.

Studies on exercise physiology and nutritional performance have demonstrated improved rehydration when water is combined with minerals such as sodium and chloride. The minerals are necessary for normal functioning of the cells by maintain their turgidity and facilitates biochemical reactions inside the cells. As previously mentioned, these micronutrients are extremely important for the cells and their absence or reduction may have adverse effects on the functioning of the cells. Moreover, it demonstrates improved hydration therapy when carbohydrates are added to mineralized water. The carbohydrates likely improve the absorption of water in the gut hence increases its concentrations in the effective circulatory systems. Sodium and carbohydrates activates systems that facilitates the uptake of water into the systems. Pure water is effective in mild to moderate activities in mild conditions that is unlikely to derail the concentrations of electrolytes in the body (Trabelsi, 2017).

Combination of water and electrolyte solutions are effective in almost all situations especially when combined with pure water. In this case, the amount of water absorbed will increase due to activations of systems of absorption and electrolytes will correct any imbalance in circulation while carbohydrates will enhance water absorption while the same time provides calories for muscle contractions required during the exercises. Examples of mineralized water are no-cal Propel Zero, and the latest low-cal offerings from Gatorade (G2-Low Cal) or GU Brew. They are good especially when the athletes train in hot conditions. Water, carbohydrates and electrolytes solutions that has sugars are tasty and encourages intake leading to continued hydration. They are effective in situations where the athlete has workout or exercise that is prolonged, continuous and the environment is hot. They are effective solutions to hydrate the body and to increase performance of the athletes due to additional calories that have been mixed up in the solutions. Examples include: Gatorade or Accelerade.

Quantity to drink

The rule of two percent has estimated the fluid replacement with a lot of ease. Working athlete can lose one to five lbs of body weight when they sweat within one hour. The organ impairment is observed when the loss exceeds two percent in which case the tissues and organs experience reduced nutrients and oxygenation that impairs the biochemical processes in the cells. For instance,

If individual weighs two hundred lbs before beginning the exercise, applying the two percent rule, the zone of hydration is one hundred and ninety-six and upper limit two hundred lbs

200lbs *2/100= 4 lbs

200-4=196 lbs

If the athlete weighs les than196 lbs after the exercise, then from the 2% rule, it shows that an individual has lost more than two percent body weight during exercise. To rectify the problem, the fluid consumption should be increased before the next workout so that it remains within the normal zone. With continued exercising after exceeding the two percent rule will compromise the physical ability to excel in the exercise, impairs mental ability to make decisions and think critically when it counts.

Effects of dehydration on athletes

Dehydration is significant problem that affect majority of the athletes. From the two percent rule, athlete can effectively calculate the amount of fluid lost and take necessary steps to correct it. Uncorrected dehydration has effects on many organ functions in the body. First, dehydration can result in reduced renal perfusion which can result in acute renal failure. The disease is an emergency since without proper treatment, the interstitial necrosis occurs which affect secretion and absorption of nutrients. The result is metabolic waste products accumulation in the body and nutrients wastage in the urine.

The combined effects lead to death within few hours if not treated promptly (Anderson, 2016). Again, there will be reduced perfusion of the brain that can result in ischemic strokes that manifests as paralysis, convulsions, altered mentation. The pituitary can be necrosed leading to Sheehan syndromes. The reduced perfusion of the organs is likely to result to anaerobic respiration that leads to lactate accumulation thus leading to metabolic acidosis, fatigue, malaise and weakness. The respiratory effort is reduced due to acidosis which further complicates and can result to cardiorespiratory arrest. In deed dehydration should not be taken lightly since there may be silent symptoms that may not manifest early but may take time and manifest when they are irreversible.

hydration Chart

The chart above shows the analysis of the urine color to assess the degree of hydration in an individual. The fresh sampled urine is observed and its color noted and compared with the above eight different colors. When the sample color of urine matches number 1,2 or 3, the person is well hydrated and does not need fluids except for maintenance. For samples 4,5,6, clinical judgement is required to ascertain if there are any associated symptoms otherwise it can be left and observed while advised to take maintenance fluids. If the samples match number 7 and 8, the person is highly dehydrated and requires urgent hydration to prevent organ dysfunction (Chycki, 2017). The test is cheap and simple to perform in order to determine the hydration status. It assists many clinicians to rule out the possibility of any organ damage so that necessary treatment modality can be instituted.

In summary, athletes need to be well hydrated before carrying out any exercise or workout. Hydration assist the athletes in performing well in the exercises since it enables the body to become tolerant to the harsh conditions subjected to during training or competition. Different types of hydration solutions are available and they include pure water, mineralized water and mineralized water and carbohydrates. They are used under different conditions but generally, mineralized water mixed with sugar is ideal for the athletes since they need calories and enough water in the body for oxygenation of tissues, provision of nutrients and removal of accumulated metabolic waste in the body.

Work Cited

Pelly, Fiona E., Gary J. Slater, and Tanya M. King. "12 Assessment of Hydration of Athletes." Nutritional Assessment of Athletes (2016): 341.

Chycki, Jakub, et al. "The effect of mineral-based alkaline water on hydration status and the metabolic response to short-term anaerobic exercise." Biology of Sport 34.3 (2017): 255.

Anderson, Megan. "Hydration and Fluid Replacement Knowledge in High School Football Athletes." (2016).

Trabelsi, Khaled, et al. "Monitoring athletes’ hydration status and sleep patterns during Ramadan observance: methodological and practical considerations." Biological Rhythm Research (2017): 1-29.

Driskell, Judy A., and Ira Wolinsky, eds. Nutritional assessment of athletes. CRC press, 2016.

Meyer, Flavia, et al. "Gender Differences on Hydration Knowledge and Behavior of Elite Brazilian Athletes: 3011 Board# 76 June 3, 3: 30 PM-5: 00 PM." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 48.5 Suppl 1 (2016): 850.

Casa, Douglas J., et al. "11 Hydration for High-Level Athletes." Nutrition for Elite Athletes 249 (2015).

Mascherini, Gabriele, et al. "Changes in Muscles Hydration for Training Dues." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 47.5S (2015): 102.

Pettersson, Stefan, and Christina M. Berg. "Hydration status in elite wrestlers, judokas, boxers, and taekwondo athletes on competition day." International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 24.3 (2014): 267-275.

October 25, 2022

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