Water is one of the most important substances in our body and makes up around 75% of our body mass. It is important for digestive processes and assists in the absorption of nutrients. It is a universal solvent for carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and it assists in regulating the body’s biochemical processes. It allows the removal of unnecessary metabolic products and toxins, stimulates the metabolism of fats and plays a significant role in regulating body temperature, which is especially important for sports activities. Proper hydration is highly important as it actualises the Athlete’s complete physical potential. It assures effective muscle work and quicker, more efficient recovery after training. It also provides the minerals necessary for regulating the biochemical processes within the body.

On the other hand, dehydration decreases a person’s capacity to exercise, due to inefficient oxygen absorption and weakened maximum aerobic power. This causes a decline in speed, strength and endurance. It also causes accumulation of acidic metabolites and longer post-workout recovery. It all leads to a prolonged feeling of tiredness and mental fatigue as well as decreasing blood circulation in skeletal muscles, thereby increasing heart rate and body temperature as it damages the body’s thermoregulatory function. This can lead to fainting, heatstroke or, in extreme cases, death.

When it comes to how much we should drink, the myth that more is better is not true. It all depends on your individual needs, climatic conditions and what type of sports you are practicing. The minimal fluid intake should be around 30ml/kg of body mass or 1ml for each 1kcal of burned energy. On average, for 60-120 minute of intense exercise in a median temperature between 23-25 degrees C, it is recommended to drink between 2 and 4 litres of fluid. For each hour between 0.4 and 1 litre of proper drink should be given.
In most sports disciplines 1.5 -2 hours of high intensity training causes a 2-3% decrease of body mass due to water loss. In cases of extreme endurance training, like a marathon or triathlon, the body mass can decrease by as much as 8 or 9%.
The feeling of thirst is not a good measurement of your body’s required water consumption because when you feel thirsty that means you are already dehydrated and your body’s capacity to function efficiently is already lower.

When it comes to choosing which kind of drinks should be used water is sufficient for recreational sports and strength training of one hour’s duration or less. To increase the rate of absorption a little salt can be added to the water. Water does not provide sufficient energy for exercise of longer duration, isotonic drinks are a better option in this scenario because they are absorbed more quickly through the digestive track and contain vital minerals. There are a lot of different options available on the market. It is advisable to always check the labels. Be careful with carbonated drinks which contain caffeine because they can decrease our desire to drink as they fill the stomach and increase diuresis.
So, it’s very important to be predictive of your required fluid intake and its quality prior to your specific workout.
Enjoy your training!!