Top Hydration, Performance & Recovery Tips for Athletes
With summer fast approaching, it’s important that both the everyday athlete and those competing in endurance events manage their:
- Hydration Levels
- Energy Levels
- Rest & Recovery
We will start by explaining the need for optimised hydration levels.
Benefits to Optimising Your Hydration Levels
Why is Hydration Important?
Did you know that total body water content ranges between 30-50 litres and we lose this water in various ways such as sweating, breathing and urine production?
Sweating is controlled by an individual’s metabolic rate and body temperature, both of which are impacted by exercise intensity and bodyweight.
When we participate in exercise in hot weather our sweat rates increase and unless we have a hydration strategy in place to offset these sweat losses, dehydration can occur which means our health and performance will suffer.
Hydration is important for many reasons such as cardiovascular function, transportation of nutrients, regulation of body temperature, performance, and for maintaining overall good health.
What is the Impact of Dehydration on the Body?
Studies have shown that dehydration of 2%-3% of bodyweight can impair performance in certain conditions. When this occurs, cognitive function, mental alertness and mood can be affected. (Cheuvont & Kenefick 2014)
When the body becomes dehydrated a reduction in sweat rate can occur which impairs the body’s ability to cool down. This increases physical strain on the body and leads to an elevated heart rate, a reduction in aerobic performance and an increase in the perceived work effort. So those runs we found easier to do while hydrated become harder as we become dehydrated.
Heavy sweat and fluid loss causes a reduction in blood flow to the muscles which means your heart will be pumping harder and faster, something you do not want to happen, and here’s why.
When blood flow is affected, there will be a reduction of oxygen to the working muscles, and this will compromise your energy production (ATP). This is important as ATP is the only energy available for muscle contraction in humans and if this is reduced then your exercise performance will suffer.
Paying attention to fluid intake and electrolyte balance is important for anyone participating is sports. Key electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, and magnesium with sodium considered the most important one as it is the most abundant electrolyte lost in sweat. When sodium levels are low, it may lead to an increase in urine production which can cause negative fluid balance which could be one of the reasons for cramping.
Products You Should Consider
Hydration is affected by fluid and electrolyte balance. Commencing exercise hydrated ensures that there is an adequate amount of water available to meet the physiological demands placed on the body during exercise. If you are dehydrated before exercise, you are at risk of putting additional strain on the body, especially in hot conditions.
If you are one of those impressive people that participates in ultra-endurance events like marathons or triathlons, keep track of your hydration levels. Consuming water alone could leave you at risk of a low sodium intake so consider Kinetica Electro C electrolyte tablets which contain key electrolytes such as sodium. These can be used in water or used alongside a carbohydrate drink like Kinetica Energy.
Oftentimes you will see athletes like runners, football and rugby players for example taking gels during events or games. Kinetica Energy Gels and Caffeine Gels contain sodium and water which helps maintain hydration. With 105mg of caffeine in each gel, this can help with endurance and high-intensity team sports performance.
Another option to consider pre-event and especially if you’re an early riser and looking for your usual caffeine boost to get you going is Kinetica Prefuel which has 95mg of caffeine per serving. Caffeine has the ability to delay fatigue in endurance and high intensity exercise. PreFuel contains citrulline malate that may reduce fatigue and beta-alanine that may improve exercise duration.
Finally, as a sports nutrition brand eager to keep you fighting fit and ready to seize the day, everyday recovery has to be a top priority! Kinetica Recovery contains carbohydrates to help replenish those diminished energy stores and protein to help with repair from all that wear and tear. Consume with water to help with hydration post exercise.
About the author
The Kinetica Nutrition Council is made up of a panel of expert nutritionists who contributed to this blog by providing up to date information based on current research within the field of sports nutrition. This panel is supported by Kinetica’s Performance Nutritionist Seán Prunty.