Physical activity

Any moment is good to take hydration into account, but here we propose four particular times when hydration needs should be specially considered: when studying, when driving, when performing physical activity and at work.

  • Studying
  • Driving and hydration
  • Physical activity
  • At work

physical activity and hydration 4 key moments in HydrationDehydration during exercise may be reduced or prevented by drinking sufficient amounts of beverages or sports drinks both during and prior to sports activities when water loss is expected to occur. Sports drinks provide fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates. During exercise, drinking should occur regularly, but the frequency of drinking and the amount consumed will depend on many factors, including the intensity and duration of exercise and the weather conditions, as well as on the physical characteristics of the individual, including body weight and individual sweating characteristics. In very hot and humid climates, outdoor sports should be performed in the early morning or late afternoon, and it is best to avoid unnecessary physical exertion during the hottest times of the day.

When exercising for short periods or at low intensities, it may not be necessary to drink anything: water is perfectly adequate in these situations if something is needed. For reasons of variety and taste sports drinks may be preferred in this situation. When the exercise lasts longer than about 30-40 minutes, sports drinks may be better than water. One key benefit is that they can reduce the sensation of effort. This makes exercise seem easier and this means that the individual will be more likely to enjoy the exercise program and therefore more likely to stick with it.

Physical work performance is usually decreased when dehydration exceeds about 1-3% of body weight. Prolonged exercise in the heat with dehydration corresponding to a loss of only 1% of body weight increases body temperature, which is a consequence of both reduced sweating and reduced skin blood flow induced by dehydration. A body water loss of more than about 2% induced by exercise in the heat has been shown to impair performance in a wide variety of tests of both physical and mental performance. Young children and adolescents may be at particular risk of impaired cognitive function (concentration, alertness and short-term memory) due to insufficient hydration.

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