To maintain optimal performance, it is important for athletes to avoid dehydration by monitoring sweat and fluid loss during competition.
Fluid losses of over 1-2% of body weight result in increased cardiovascular strain by:
Reducing blood volume
Reducing stroke volume
Reducing muscle blood flow
Affecting muscle metabolism, neurological function
And increasing muscle glycogen use
In Soccer games there is a limited opportunity to drink – only during the few breaks in play and at half time. Therefore, as an athlete it is important to know your specific hydration needs and minimize your fluid loss as much as possible.
SportMedBC Dietitian Dana Lis is working with the Whitecaps players conducting hydration testing at practices and games in order to provide specific individualized hydration plans for the players. The hydration testing results will also help to identify, provide plans for, and monitor those players with higher sweat rates, poor hydration practices, or chronic crampers.
For the Whitecaps and other National teams, it is also important to realize that climate has a huge effect, so competitions in locations such as Miami will require a higher level of hydration and other precautions such as taking in electrolytes. A 1-2% dehydration rate may not affect performance in a temperate climate like Vancouver, but at 30 C this can significantly affect performance.
After the initial testing at a training session this week, Dana will be conducting follow-up testing on the players at Saturday’s game – a more realistic assessment of game-time hydration requirements.
To calculate your own sweat rate, click here
To read more on Hydration in sport, check out the following articles –
Fluid first – Hydration in Sports
Hydrating for Activity