It is generally thought that you need at least 0.5 L of water or fluids per hour of physical activity. However, many athletes are not hydrated enough.
The term dehydration refers to a deficiency caused by an imbalance between the water taken in and the water lost by the body. Dehydration is mainly associated with perspiration and can lead to a mineral imbalance in the level of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium in particular.
It is therefore necessary to replace these losses of minerals in order to maintain the ideal fluid balance, thanks to electrolytes.
Compensate for Losses in Sodium
Sodium intake during exercise is necessary because:
- It replaces the losses due to perspiration: sweat is a mixture of water and minerals, including sodium.
- It improves the absorption of water and carbohydrates by the intestine. This absorption of fluids promotes rehydration.
- It stimulates the thirst mechanism.
- It helps to conserve the fluids taken.
Hydrate Yourself Without Calories
During short, low-intensity training sessions, carbs are not necessarily required. However, the body needs to be replenished in water and electrolytes. Dilute 1 tablet of electrolytes in 500ml of water for one hour of low-intensity physical effort.
Electrolytes vs. Isotonic Drinks
For physical efforts lasting less than 1 hour, water alone is sufficient.
For physical efforts lasting more than 1 hour, water is not enough. You need to compensate for the loss of energy and minerals in order to maintain your performance level. Isotonic drinks are ideal as they provide everything that the body needs during physical effort. They are an all-in-one solution!
However, some athletes dislike these drinks. However, their physiological needs will not go away and a solution must be found to them! This is done by drinking water and eating energy bars to compensate for the fluid and energy losses. It is worth noting that in this situation, it is difficult to compensate for the losses in minerals given that bars and gels often contain a low level of sodium. In this case, electrolytes are useful because they provide the minerals needed to replace the minerals lost through perspiration.
Hydrate Yourself Effectively
Remember to drink before, during and after the physical effort.
Before: Given the warm-up and level of stress associated with a race, dehydration can begin even before the start. You therefore need to plan ahead and prevent the loss of fluids that will occur during the physical exercise;
During, the fluid losses due to perspiration must be replaced in order to avoid the effects of dehydration.
After, you must continue to hydrate yourself to compensate for the losses and avoid a lack of fluids that may cause muscle pain.
Electrolytes provide just the right level of hydration for short, intense physical efforts.
For a medium to high-intensity effort, you need to combine your hydration with fruit jellies or bars that will give you the carbs needed to perform throughout the event.