Powerade Hydration Tips: Frequently Asked Questions
Drawing a close to our series of small but richly informative hydration tips from our Rugby World Cup sponsors Powerade, we give you the Frequently Asked Questions on hydration and performance.
Q: Is It Possible To Drink Too Much Water During Exercise?
A: Following a hydration strategy to prevent dehydration should also ensure over-hydration is avoided. Hyponatraemia can occur if excessive amount of plain water are consumed during long endurance type exercise, without replacing the salts lost in sweat. As a result, a dangerous electrolyte imbalance caused by low blood sodium levels can occur. In mild forms this can cause bloating, nausea, and in more serious cases confusion, seizures, and even death. Therefore, during long periods of exercise (>2 hours) drinking the right amount of fluid to match sweat losses and replacing the salts lost in sweat is essential.
Q: How Does Dehydration Affect Performance?
A: During exercise, the working muscles generate heat as a waste product of the energy they produce. To maintain core body temperature, blood flow to the skin and sweat rate increases to get rid of some of the heat. Dehydration reduces the efficiency of this process by decreasing blood volume and rate of sweating. The heart has to work harder and endurance performance suffers. As your body temperature rises, more blood goes to the surface of the skin to cool you, and less oxygen-rich blood is available for your muscles. In addition, the perception of thirst can increase feelings of fatigue and impair concentration, attention and reaction time.
Q: What’s The Easiest Way To Monitor My Hydration Status?
A: Monitoring the amount of urine you excrete and its colour can help provide an indication of hydration status. Generally, the darker in colour and the less you urinate, the more dehydrated you are. Ideally, urine should be a pale straw colour. However, be aware that other factors can also affect urine production and colour.