Stopping To Drink: Is It Worth The Time?

stopping to drink hydration

Dayton Kelly

This article was adapted from a combination of speeches given at the European Sports Science Conference 2017, most notably Lewis James PhD (Loughbrough University, UK).

Research in dehydration and exercise has long been clouded in uncertainty despite athletes having been observed to lose three to four liters of water an hour exercising in the heat. It is clear that at some point dehydration impairs performance (dying of thirst would certainly increase your marathon time), but the magnitude of dehydration required for performance impairment remains debatable. Recommendations for fluid consumption may be further obscured as performance impairment will further depend on exercise type and the method of dehydration. It does appear, however, that long distance endurance exercise, such as marathon running, does display the greatest performance decrement with dehydration. So, is stopping to drink worth the time?

Where does the current literature stand?

In its infancy, research in dehydration suggested water loss may actually improve performance. It was found that the most successful athletes at marathon type events were actually the most dehydrated and thus dehydration must equal better performance. It was thought that the accompanying weight loss with dehydration may improve running economy. This conception has been since rejected realizing winning athletes were likely more dehydrated because they were running harder.

Related Article: Effects of Alcohol On Your Workout

stopping to drink waterSince then, the body of literature has suggested that dehydration resulting in weight loss that exceeds 2% of the athlete’s total body mass will impair marathon-type performance. While this threshold has been repeatedly demonstrated, it has recently been called into question. It was recognized that no literature to date had actually blinded participants of their dehydrated status. Thus, people may be performing worse because they think dehydration will make them perform worse rather than any physiological mechanism be at play.

This would support the idea that marathon runners do not need to drink during marathon running. To tackle this issue, a sample of athletes performed twice performed testing hooked up to a machine providing an intravenous saline solution. On one of these occasions the machine provided regular saline, maintaining hydration throughout the exercise task, and on the other, hypohydrated saline solution was used to induce dehydration. On both occasions, participants were unaware of whether or not they were being rehydrated. The study found impairment regardless of participant blinding, suggesting a real physiological mechanism of dehydration exists.

Related Article: Pump Up Your Performance With Beet Root Juice!

Take away:

The literature suggests a physiological threshold for marathon-like exercise performance at a 2% body mass loss of water. Thus, marathon runners are advised to maintain hydration during marathon running to prevent too much fluid loss.

NOTE: Runners should practice like they perform, should you choose to rehydrate during your marathon you should practice grabbing cups of water while running, as you will have to do in competition.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

You Might Like:

Obesity and COVID-19

Does Obesity Increase Your Risk of Coronavirus?

We are currently living in a pretty interesting time. Inundated with bad news stories on every channel, isolated from the outside world with no real social interaction, and completely unable to get the gym and...
Woman exercising at the gym

How to Stay Healthy at the Gym

Over the last few days, we have seen the coronavirus situation escalate rapidly. With this has come some recommendations around exercise, and more importantly, around attending the gym. As a result, you might be wondering...
Reset your health

Now Is the Time to Reset Your Health

Even though we are living in the most abundant time in human history, chronic disease is at all-time high. The incidence of obesity, diabetes cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety are all reaching epidemic proportions. And...
Female athlete exercising while sick

How Exercise Prevents Sickness

Everyone on the planet knows that exercise is good for them. In fact, over the last few years it has been shown to not only prevent the onset of physical ailments like heart disease and...
Women in the vitamin aisle

3 Vitamins to Boost Your Immune System Now

Given the impact that coronavirus is having on our society, I thought it would be a great time to provide some useful information that can have a positive effect on your immune system. And no,...

 

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Runners running through a park

Exercise: The Ultimate Escape

Women playing soccer

Exercise Research is Underrepresented in Female Athletes

Marathon running

The Best Way to Taper for Sports Performance

man running on a mountain trail

How Hydration Affects Short Endurance Performance

woman drinking water

Water and Hydration

woman stretching and looking at a view of the mountains

Endurance Athletes: Why Women Win In The Long Run

Group of people doing CrossFit

What Does CrossFit Do to Your Body?

The word keto spelled with food

The Effects of Exercising On a High Fat Diet

To women jumping on boxes

The Rise of CrossFit

stretching in field

Are Plant-Based Protein Drinks Effective for Exercise Recovery?

Leave a Reply