Water and sports

Sweating accompanies every form of intensive physical activity. It is necessary in order to avoid hyperthermia. During moderate intensity training, a body loses 0.5–1 litres of fluids per hour; during an intensive load, up to 3 litres per hour. It is important not only for top athletes, but also for health runners, to regain the lost fluids as soon as possible.

Regular tap water is not enough. Using drinks with low mineral content during excessive sweating can cause health problems, since the consistency of the minerals in the drink defines how the fluid will be distributed in the body.

The principal is simple – 1 ml of fluid must be consumed for every kilocalorie spent.
Losing nearly 2% of fluids from your body can lead to reduction in functional capacity of up to 20%. With a body weight of 50 kg this means one kilogram.

Perhaps this makes it clear why consuming fluids is so important. Recovery isn’t just a break between training sessions, it is optimal nutrition, water procedures, massage, etc. The loss of trace elements and fluids needs to be rebalanced. Mineral waters help to restore the losses.

Sodium takes part in the body’s hydration, acid-base balance and neuromuscular irritability. A sudden need for sodium in the body rises during hot weather and strenuous exercise. The body loses fluids, which in turn affects the loss of other minerals, like magnesium and potassium. Sodium in mineral water is not found as sodium chloride (table salt), but is rather bound to other minerals or bicarbonates. In this way, the bicarbonate promotes the extraction of redundant sodium. Bicarbonate is not a mineral, but is an important ingredient of good, natural mineral water. Mineral waters that have flowed through limestone are bicarbonate-rich.

The drinks consumed by runners should also be magnesium-rich. Potassium levels in drinks consumed while running should not be very high, while potassium-rich drinks are recommended after running is completed.

The higher the temperature of the drink and the more concentrated the sugars within, the longer it stays in the stomach. This leads to an unpleasant full-stomach feeling and the water keeps on moving back and forth in the bowel. Sweet drinks lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar, which increases the secretion of the pancreas hormone insulin. High levels of insulin reduces the fat “burning” process, which makes the body use up its glycogen supplies very quickly.

Hence the recommendation – do not use excessively sweet nutritive mixes right before the start. In the case of exertion that exceeds one hour, a drink must also contain carbohydrates. A cool drink with enough minerals and carbohydrates works the fastest while running.

This does not necessarily have to be an industrially prepared sports drink; apple pulp (or any other fruit juices) mixed with mineral water in a ratio 1:3 fits perfectly, if the right mineral water is chosen. The minerals found in the mineral water have to be in the following ratio: potassium:sodium not less than 1:10, magnesium: calcium not less than 1:3.

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