Water and sports
Perspiration is part of any intense physical activity. It is essential for keeping the body from overheating. During moderate exercise, the body loses 0.5-1 litre of fluids an hour, up to 3 litres during strenuous exercise. It is critical not just for elite athletes but also recreational sportspeople to rehydrate as fast as possible.
Ordinary tap water is not enough. Heavy perspiration combined with beverages low in minerals can lead to health problems as the electrolyte balance in the beverage determines how the fluid moves through the body.
The rule of thumb is that you must drink 1 millilitre for each calorie you burn.
Losing 2% of fluid in terms of body weight can result in a 20% lower performance. For a 50 kg person, that’s one kilogram.
That will hopefully give an idea of why staying hydrated is so important. Recovery does not just mean taking a break between training, but also optimum diet, water procedures, massage and more. It is necessary to compensate for the loss of minerals, microelements and fluids. Mineral waters help replace what was lost.
Sodium is a key element in the body’s fluid equilibrium, acid-base balance and neuron function. In hot weather and physical exertion, the body’s sodium demand increases sharply. The body loses fluids, which has an influence on loss of other minerals, such as magnesium and potassium. Sodium in mineral water does not exist in the form of sodium chloride but rather bound to other minerals or bicarbonate. In such a form, the bicarbonate promotes excess free sodium. Bicarbonate is not a mineral but a component in good natural mineral water. In particular, mineral water that has penetrated through limestone is rich in bicarbonate.
Runners should drink fluids that contain as much magnesium as possible. Potassium should not be excessively high in runners’ sport drinks, but a high potassium drink after the cool-down is recommended.
The higher temperature the drink is at and the more concentrated the sugar content, the longer it will remain in the stomach. That will cause an unpleasant feeling of being full and the water will slosh back and forth in the digestive tract. Sweet drinks also cause blood sugar to rise suddenly, increasing insulin response. A high insulin level keeps fats from being burned, which means that the body will use its glycogen stores too early.
A recommendation is not to consume sweet foods in large quantities before a race. For exertion of more than an hour, the drink should also contain carbohydrates. During a run, a cool drink with the necessary amount of minerals and carbs has the fastest effect.
It doesn’t have to be an industrially produced sports drink; apple juice (or some other fruit juice) is ideal when mixed one part to three parts mineral water, provided it’s the right mineral water. The minerals in mineral water should be in the following proportions: sodium to potassium ratio no less than 1:10, magnesium to calcium no less than 1:3.