All of these factors influence energy conservation, endurance, speed and power in the athlete. As we know, when energy levels are low, endurance, speed and power suffer. Over time, as fatigue continues to set in, an athlete may be subject to an even greater likelihood of poor biomechanics, even if they are not present under well rested conditions. In other words, even in cases where pathokinematics don’t normally exist in a given athlete, they can be caused by inattention to these issues. And for those athletes who demonstrate certain lower extremity pathokinematics all the time, inattention to these factors can and does exacerbate them in many cases, especially in situations that require increased endurance, speed, power or strength.
Water intake or hydration is a simple aspect of nutrition that has a huge impact on athletic The Aside from performance, though, it is critical to remember that water is essential to the human body, and without it we wouldn’t survive to compete in athletic activities. Estimates are that a human can survive 8-14 days without water, depending on the rate of sweat, urine and tears leaving the body. Water composes more than half of the human body, and is required for every single body function. Water helps to:
correlation between hydration and endurance and speed during athletic performance is clearly shown in the research.
- Transport nutrients
- Dispel waste
- Regulate the body’s temperature
- Aid digestion
- Ensure healthy function of vital organs
The human body is constantly undergoing a complex set of chemical reactions. These chemical reactions are highly dependent on blood pH. There is some disagreement among researchers about what constitutes a healthy pH in humans, but most agree it ranges from 6.1 to 7.5. A healthy blood and body pH is essential in order to allow chemical reactions in the body to take place. The rate limiting step, in most chemical reactions in the human body, is dependent on enzymes. Enzymes are activated and deactivated by pH levels. If pH levels are higher or lower than “optimal” then chemical reactions are slowed. Water is essential to maintain a proper pH balance and therefore is essential for facilitating these reactions at the proper rate. When water (H20) is introduced into the body, one of the hydrogen molecules cleaves off, leaving H + HO. This free hydrogen ion aids in making the body’s pH more neutral. This allows chemical reactions to take place more readily. Therefore, proper hydration is believed to have the following critical effects in humans:
According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2002, nearly 50% of the American population is considered clinically dehydrated.[iii] Dehydration occurs when the amount of body fluid lost is greater than the amount of fluid that is replaced. In this state, the body is unable to cool itself, causing a lack of energy, muscle fatigue, cramps, heat exhaustion or possibly heat stroke. Appendix J depicts a urine color chart that can be used to assess hydration levels as well as a chart from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlining signs of dehydration.
In order to avoid dehydration and the potential dangers associated with it, the following guidelines should be adhered to:
- Drink fluids before feeling thirsty and before, during and after exercise or prolonged heat exposure;
- Water is the best fluid for everyone and the recommended amount is 0.5 to 1.0 ounces per pound of body weight per day. Fluids can also come from fruits, juices, soups and vegetables, but these fluids should not be relied upon to replace pure water;
- When exercising with high intensity for more than 45 minutes, sports drinks can replenish lost electrolytes;
- It’s a good idea to keep a water bottle, hands-free system or similar portable container on hand and drink from it throughout the day and especially when exercising;
- Check the color of urine to see if fluid intake is adequate. Clear or light-colored urine indicates proper hydration;
- Avoid caffeine, some energy drinks and alcohol. Some energy drinks have high amounts of caffeine which acts as a diuretic and accelerate water loss;
- Take frequent breaks from strenuous, sweat producing activities to hydrate adequately so that the body has time to cool and recover.