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Sai Institute of Sports Injury

Hydration In Sport

Hydration in Sport

Maintaining ideal hydration and nutrition levels requires the attention of both players and coaches before, during and after exercise. This includes training as well as competitive games and events.

Dehydration has a significantly detrimental effect on sports performance. It

  • Decreases concentration levels, leading to increased clumsiness
  • Decreases endurance capacity
  • Decreases performance levels through increased fatigue and headaches
  • Decreases the ability to judge accurately
  • Delays recovery

Good hydration Strategies

  • Replace sweat losses and promote recovery
  • Reduce the effect of fatigue and allow players to maintain a high level of concentration and therefore      performance

Encourage Players To

  • Pre-hydrate! Drink fluids before starting a training session or competition and during the day
  • Drink small amounts where possible throughout the game
  • Increase fluid intake in hot and humid conditions
  • Replace every kilogram body weight lost with 1-1.5 litres of fluid
  • Drink fluid that is flavored and cool
  • Drink well formulated sports drinks during activity lasting longer than one hour

Players Should Avoid

  • Caffeine drinks (e.g. Red Bull), smart drinks and alcohol after exercise as those increases fluid losses.
  • Sharing drink bottles between players so that infections don't spread between players

Good nutrition

  • Increases energy levels, leading to more active participation
  • Helps in the development of strong bones, which reduces the possibility of fractures
  • Helps repair damaged muscle tissue
  • Allows the body to recover between physical activity sessions
  • Provides for growth

Poor Nutrition

  • Decreases concentration through decreased energy levels
  • Causes poorly developed muscles and bones, and may lead to iron deficiency
  • Decreases a player's resistance capacity

Encourage Players To

  • Ensure that over half their food intake comes from carbohydrate (CHO) based foods (6-10g CHO/kg body weight)
  • Increase their intake of CHO foods a few days (2-3 days) before a endurance event or tournament
  • Ensure their diet contains 1.2-1.7g protein/kg body weight
  • Eat enough food to provide sufficient energy for training and games
  • Maintain a hydrated state

** Players should avoid foods high in fat and fibre before and during exercise or event. **

Fad diets and programmes promoting a rapid weight loss tend to place the energy intake of active people and athletes at a risk and possibly increase the risk of fatigue, increasing the risk of injury. Players wishing to train hard and reduce body fat or weight should seek advice from a sports dietician or a sports medicine doctor.