The Importance of Hydration While Practicing Sports

Hydration is crucial when it comes to any physical activity. Poor hydration inevitably leads to poor performance in sports.
The Importance of Hydration While Practicing Sports

Last update: 18 June, 2019

Hydration is crucial when it comes to any physical activity. Poor hydration inevitably leads to poor performance. It can even cause health problems such as tendinitis. That’s why experts recommend drinking water before, during and after exercise.

There are no exact rules about the amount of water that should be drunk during exercise. When the body doesn’t have enough water, it cannot function properly. Dehydration can vary from mild to severe.

couple hydrating after sports

Hydration is key to avoiding muscle cramps and water is the key to combating dehydration. However, if you’re going to perform high-intensity exercises for more than one hour, an isotonic drink may be ideal.

Why is it important to maintain hydration when you play sports?

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to hydrate while playing sports:

Hydration helps to keep you healthy

Water can help you maintain good health and keep the body functioning properly, that’s why it’s so important to hydrate.

During the warmer months, special attention should be paid to hydrating in order to avoid heat-related illnesses. This is especially true when it comes to practicing sports.

Since the body cannot store water, we must constantly provide it with a steady supply.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking between 1 and 2 liters of water for every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise performed.

Woman drinking juice

Hydration ensures good performance

When it comes to dehydration, the volume of water in blood plasma decreases and the blood becomes thicker. Since the blood is thicker the heart must work harder to pump it around the body.

Poor hydration can accelerate energy loss. Therefore, the state of fatigue intensifies and the threat of exhaustion increases even more with physical effort. As a consequence, performance may be affected.

Thousands of people have survived with love; none without water.

-W.H. Auden-

Hydration prevents the risk of injury

Cramps, tendinitis, muscle, and joint pains can be caused by dehydration.

When the body is dehydrated the muscles and tendons become brittle. This can lead to intense, transient or recurrent pain.

Regulating body temperature

When you exercise or perform physical activity, your body temperature rises. The body produces sweat in order to eliminate additional heat. Sweat consists of water and electrolytes, therefore, water is lost during perspiration.

Water also plays a vital role in the regulation of body temperature. It allows the body to maintain muscle activity without producing an excessive rise in body temperature. That’s why it’s so important to hydrate properly before, during and after performing physical activities.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration

If you’re exercising and you experience any of the following signs or symptoms you should stop immediately:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Skin dryness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Thirst
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Drop in performance
  • Apathy or lack of energy

The symptoms mentioned above should be monitored closely. In most cases, they can be alleviated by drinking water and sitting in the shade in order to cool the body.

Keep in mind, however, that severe dehydration can affect your well-beingIt can lead to muscle weakness, mental confusion and even loss of  consciousness. If this happens, you should seek medical attention immediately.

flavored water

In conclusion, keeping hydrated while playing sports is the utmost importance. Experts recommend drinking water before, during and after exercise in order to avoid dehydration.

However, you should also keep in mind that drinking too much water can cause hyponatremia. That’s why you should drink small quantities of water many times during the duration of the day. Remember also, to drink more water when the temperature rises, even if you’re not thirsty.

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The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.