We all know that drinking water is important to prevent dehydration, especially when you’re working out, but aside from making you feel thirsty, have you ever considered how poor hydration could be impacting your performance?
New research that was recently published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise has recently done exactly that, and the findings are interesting (and provide yet another motivator for staying properly hydrated when you’re training).
Medical Xpress highlighted the findings, which found that if you drink only to quench your thirst when exercising you’ll typically become dehydrated and this impacts your performance.
For this study, the researchers monitored seven cyclists as they pedalled stationary bikes in hot, dry conditions.
All the cyclists were given enough water to suppress their natural thirst, but some of the group were given enough water to prevent dehydration while others were not.
Professor and director of the Hydration Science Lab at the University of Arkansas and study author Stavros Kavouras explained that becoming dehydrated “is associated with exercise performance impairment”.
The group who became dehydrated typically recorded slower speeds, lower power output and had higher core body temperatures than the group who were adequately hydrated. However, Professor Kavouras stressed that how much water is needed will vary from person to person.
“For optimal performance, competitive athletes should develop their own individualised hydration protocol to best address their fluid needs during exercise,” he asserted. So as a non-professional athlete you should get to know your body and make sure you’re drinking enough water.
A recent article for NDTV noted that keeping properly hydrated while you’re working out will also help you avoid muscle fatigue, cramps and exhaustion.
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