The importance and benefits of hydration

12 November 2020

The importance and benefits of hydration

The importance and benefits of hydration

The human body has a large amount of water, about 50-70%, which is responsible for most of the biochemical reactions that occur in the body, for the transport of nutrients, regulation of body temperature and regulation of the normal functioning of the cardiovascular, digestive system and respiratory.

In the practice of physical exercise our body heats up and we need a good reserve of water for cooling to occur through perspiration. In addition, with perspiration important minerals and electrolytes are lost that prevent exchanges at the level of cell membranes. In short, the benefits of hydration are:

- Maintain and retain blood volume to prevent early fatigue and maximize opportunities to "cool" the body;

- Help transport nutrients that provide energy for good performance;

- Help to recover from training and prevent a state of dehydration.

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Each athlete has specific water needs, as these depend on losses through sweat, the amount of liquids ingested during training and variations in the weather.

The athlete can maintain good hydration pre, intra and post workout with the intake of water or isotonic drinks, the latter contain carbohydrates and electrolytes that provide an energy boost.

Here are the recommendations for a correct hydration:

- Hydration before exercise: 2 to 4 hours before training start drinking about 500ml of water or sports drinks;

- Hydration during exercise (exercises longer than 1 hour): intake of 250 ml at regular intervals of 15 to 20 minutes.

- Hydration after exercise: 1.5 times the weight lost during training (ex: 1.5L for 1Kg lost), accompanied by an increase in the amount of sodium.

Considerable dehydration results in decreased physical, technical and cognitive ability. Thus, it is extremely important to optimize correct hydration prior to exercise and to ensure an adequate replacement of fluids after exercise, in order to meet the specific needs for the athlete's performance.

By Adriana Martins, Nutritionist

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