Clearly, the summer temperatures are very enjoyable, and also invite participation in exercise and sports in nature. Particularly during the warmer months, it is important to be well hydrated. Here we reveal how you can manage this, and how to keep a cool head.
The elixir of life
An adult human body, depending on age, weight and sex, consists of 60 – 70% water. Sufficient fluid intake is essential to maintain metabolism, organ function and performance. Water has a solution and transport function in the body. The most important task of water, especially in sports, is heat regulation.
Do you know the feeling when your mouth and tongue feel dry and all you can think about is cold water? These are the first signs of dehydration. The decisive factor is your drinking behaviour during the day. It doesn’t have the same positive effect when one drinks the entire recommended amount of liquids in one go, as the intestine can only absorb 500 to 800 ml of water per hour. It is far more efficient to keep your body hydrated throughout the day and to drink a glass of water every hour.
What happens if there is a lack of liquids?
Those who drink too little notice this quickly through fatigue and difficulty in concentrating. In the case of a lack of fluid, the blood running through your body becomes increasingly deprived of water and it “thickens”. Symptoms of dehydration include: loss of appetite, dry skin and mucous membranes, chapped lips and corners of the mouth, constipation and other gastrointestinal disturbances, concentrated (dark) urine and a reduced urine volume, as well as insomnia, fatigue and exhaustion.
How much should I drink?
We all know it and have heard it thousands of times, “it is important to drink a lot” - but how much is enough? Our bodies regulate water autonomously and balance secretions from the skin, lungs, bladder and intestine (which are about 2.5 litres daily) through external fluids. The amount of liquid added is made up of liquids from drinks, food and water oxidation, which is produced during the oxidation of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fat) in the mitochondria (= power plants of our body). This results in a recommended daily intake of approximately1.5 litres for a healthy adult, ideally in the form of water.
Drinking during sport
An increased liquid intake is necessary when exercising. To prevent dehydration, a glass of water should be drunk about 30 - 45 minutes before exercise. If the exercise time is less than 60 minutes, it is sufficient to drink only before and after training. If the training time is over 60 minutes, the liquids should be consumed before, but also during the activity time.
The terms hypertonic, isotonic and hypotonic describe the concentration of dissolved particles (electrolytes, salts) in fluids compared to blood (plasma) in the human body. Hypertonic drink means that the particle concentration is higher than in the human body, for example in pure juices, soft drinks and energy drinks. The body can only process hypertonic liquids if their concentration is equal to that of the body, i.e. isotonic (iso means the same). In order to make a hypertonic, i.e. higher concentrated liquid isotonic, the body’s own liquid must be supplied. The absorption is therefore slower since the hypertonic drink must first be diluted with the body's own liquids. In order to avoid this, we should at least drink isotonic drinks during long sports or sweaty workouts. Beverages having a lower concentration of dissolved particles compared to the blood are hypotonic, such as still water. This does not mean that water would not be suitable as a liquid in sports, but for longer workouts and trainings, it is advisable to resort to isotonic drinks. This is easy to prepare by yourself. Simply mix a fruit juice at a ratio of 1:1 (or 1:2) with non-carbonated, sodium-rich water. Alternatively, you can make a drink with syrup (60 ml elderflower syrup, 940 ml still water, 1 pinch of cooking salt).
If you are looking for more information on this topic, the following links are worth looking at:
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