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The Importance Of Adequate Hydration In An Athlete's Diet.

2893 words - 12 pages

IntroductionFluids are often forgotten in discussions about sports nutrition. Humans can live for a prolonged period of time without macronutrient and micronutrient intake, but not without water. Water is the basic substance needed for all metabolic processes in the human body. It enables transport of other substances by the circulation and interchange or exchange of nutrients and metabolic end-products between organs and their external surroundings. When you are feeling fatigued, the cause could be as simple as dehydration. Water and adequate hydration is crucial for both general well-being and top performance, regardless of the level one is training at. This research paper will discuss the importance of proper hydration in an athlete's diet, and attempt to determine the optimal beverage to consume during physical activity.The Importance of Adequate HydrationWater is a basic necessity for life. Without it, life can't exist. Even when water is limited, living organisms suffer. For athletes, not having enough water means they are unable to do their best. It can even cause serious health problems. Blood circulates like an ocean within the body. The water in blood helps carry nutrients and energy to our body cells. It also carries waste products away from our cells for excretion from our body. Water helps to regulate our body temperature, which is an important factor for us all.Athletes have a special need for water. Participation in a sport such as track or volleyball, helps to burn a lot of food energy. Some of that unleashed energy powers muscles. However, some of that energy is released as heat. Water keeps the body from overheating. Sweating and evaporation from the skin cools the body down., but, water is also lost in the cooling process. This can be dangerous if the water is not replenished. If water levels in the body are low, it can overheat. Losing two percent of the body's water can hurt performance. A five percent loss can cause heat exhaustion. A seven to ten percent loss can result in heat stroke and death. Dehydration can kill (Brouns, 1993).Young athletes are still growing, and therefore new muscle tissue must be made. Bones need to grow rapidly. With all of the physical activity, some tissues need to be repaired. A large amount of metabolic activity requires an abundance of nutrients and energy carried to body tissues and waste products carried away. Water allows all of this to happen. Water is vital for the body's growth and repair, and physical activity (Smith & Worthington-Roberts, 1989).Thirst is the body's signal that one needs to drink water. By the time one feels thirsty, one may have already lost one to two percent of your water, enough to hurt performance. Just drinking enough to satisfy thirst may not supply the body's needs. If one drinks only enough water to satisfy thirst, the body may take up to twenty-four hours to fully rehydrate its cells and regain maximum performance.Most of the weight lost during strenuous...

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