During competition, the body loses water and minerals. This loss is all the more pronounced the greater the requirement of the sport practiced. Therefore, fluid replacement is very important to help your body stay at its peak performance . Unfortunately, many athletes do not give due importance to the hydration of the body and many end up suffering the consequences.
Why is good hydration required?
- More than half of our body weight consists of water (approximately 60%);
- Water is the main means of transport used by the body to carry nutrients to cells;
- Water helps regulate internal body temperature;
- Water is needed for proper lubrication of the joints and spine;
- Without water, it is impossible to form the hundreds of enzymes that catalyze millions of chemical reactions that make the body function daily;
- Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium play an important role in the way nerve impulses are conducted through neurons.
The importance of electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals in our body that have an electric charge. Among the most common are sodium, chloride, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.
Electrolytes are needed to regulate the hydration of the body and the pH of the blood , as well as the functioning of the neurons, promoting the retransmission of the nerve impulses of your nervous system to the different parts of the body. Some electrolytes also play a role in the transport of oxygen and its delivery to the brain; others help your muscles contract and relax.
The body loses electrolytes through sweat (that’s why sweat is salty). The higher the percentage of electrolytes lost by your body during exercise, the lower your physical and mental capacity. Therefore, you must replace not only the fluids, but also the electrolytes lost through perspiration. The snacks salted or, even better, the sports drinks are practical solutions to replace these minerals for long periods of physical activity. It is recommended to use if you perform physical activity for 2 or more hours.
The impact of dehydration on sports performance
Dehydration occurs when there is an excessive loss of water in the body. When the body becomes dehydrated, both physical and mental performance are impaired , which is especially noticeable in athletes.
Dehydration affects sports performance as follows:
- Heart rate increases
- Body temperature is deregulated
- The subjective perception of exertion increases, that is, the exercise seems more difficult to perform and we get tired faster.
- Mental performance decreases, increasing response time and response
Major signs of dehydration
All levels of dehydration impair sports performance, and the consequences are felt more intensely as the level increases. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the first signs, which are: