"Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."
"Water, water..." hydration has always been a tremendous concern for coaches, trainers and athletes in sport. Attempting to maintain the goal of keeping athletes in the less than 2% body mass loss. Studying football, rugby, basketball, tennis, ice hockey - sports with reported high sweating rates - fluid balance disturbances generally have been low and water replacement opportunities sufficient. During exercise in the heat, core body temperature and heart rate increase by 3 to 5 beats/min for every 1% of body mass lost, yet performance remains stable unless metabolic demands can no longer be met.
When exercising in the heat, internal temperature and heart rate increase. A water deficiency results in the deep structures of the body increasing in temperature, decreasing blood volume and physiological adjustments must be made to ward off dehydration. Dehydration increases the heart rate, followed by a decrease in stroke volume (that is the amount of blood pumped with each beat), this causes the heart to pump faster to move the blood, leaving less filling time for the heart. If a depleted state continues, our system heads toward the 3-4%, a state of hypohydration and athletes are put at risk.
When this cascade of physiological events begins to occur the athlete suddenly perceives the necessity to alter pace and intensity, which may or may not be seen in the performance of a highly skilled or motivated sportsperson. What we often see as the effects of a significant water loss accrue is muscular cramping, but it is important to note that during the contest the participant may also be suffering from visuomotor, psychomotor, and disrupted cognitive performance.
Cognitive function is a relatively new area of research regarding the understanding of hydration's impact on physical performance and is more difficult for the coach and athletic trainer to identify. It is important to remember there are physical ramifications, but the more difficult to recognizeis the mental ramifications of dehydration. Keep your athletes properly hydrated so they can physically and mentally play well and above all keep them safe.
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