Dehydration and Athletic Activity
Dr. Terrence J. Murphy, A.A.S., B.S., D.C.
Paintball is a very strenuous activity. The inherent aggressive
nature of the sport lends itself to a myriad of injuries including
sprains, strains, fractures and one of the most serious,
dehydration. Dehydration is the loss of fluid, specifically water,
from your blood stream. This loss of water can lead to heat
exhaustion, heat stroke and even death. It is imperative that
athletes monitor their water intake closely when exercising.
up approximately 50% of our body weight and most of that is in
your blood stream. It is through this water that we sweat. Sweat
consists almost primarily of water with a small amounts of sodium
and other trace minerals. We sweat to cool our body and thereby
cool our blood. If your blood temp rises too high it can lead to
brain and other organ damage. This rise in blood temp affects the
brain and causes such symptoms as confusion/disorientation,
hot/dry/red skin (face), vomiting, and passing out. These are the
primary symptoms of heat related brain injury due directly to lack
of water in the blood stream. Even minor losses of fluid from the
blood can severely effect an athletes performance. An athlete can
loose 10% in their performance by losing as little as 2% of their
body weight during a tournament. It is imperative that athletes
stay hydrated during competition. If you are feeling thirsty it is
too late for hydration. You are already in a state of dehydration
because the brain response to the current blood water level. Which
means your blood level of water has dropped below acceptable
levels. You now need to play catch up in your water dehydration.
person needs to take in a minimum of 3 quarts or 96 oz. of water
per day just to maintain their current level of hydration. That
amount needs to be increased if the person is involved in any kind
of athletic activity and even more if the activity is done in hot
conditions. Starting out hydrated and not becoming dehydrated is
the key good athletic performance. Here are a few tips to
preventing dehydration during exercise:
cold water at about 41deg F. It processes faster than warm
water don’t sip it. Water has to move into the intestines
quickly in order
to process it.
hours before activity drink 20oz of cold water.
• Eat a
couple of hours before you exercise. Energy
drink sugar laden sodas or sports drinks during very hot and
active times. These
drinks will cause dehydration due to the large amounts of
sugar in them. This includes
Gatoraid and other such power drinks.
Supplement your water intake with small amounts of sport
Water is your major drink during exercise periods not sports drinks.
drink caffeine laden sodas. Caffeine increases urination which
will lead to
every 15-20 min of exercise you must drink 8 oz of water. Even
if you are not thirsty.
Double that amount if it is in hot conditions.
exercise drink a recovery solution. Although Gatorade is
popular and a good
recovery solution, Pedialight is far better to help recover
mineral and electrolyte loss.
The key to
good athletic performance is keeping your body in proper working
order. Adequate hydration is essential to any athletes success. So
drink your water before you get thirsty to prevent decreased
Terrence Murphy is a licensed chiropractor in the state of
Minnesota in private practice for 8 years. He is currently
pursuing his diplomat of sports medicine and a degree in strength
training from Northwestern College of Chiropractic Science.
is a repost from MNpig.com 2002.