A common misconception is that dehydration and correct hydration isn’t as important in winter as it is in summer. However you may not realise that your sweat rate and water loss in winter does not dramatically change just because the temperature drops. In fact, adequate hydration in winter is just as important as in summer due to a number of factors, which can increase dehydration in the winter months. These include decrease thirst, training indoors, heater use and increased clothing/overdressing for training and racing.
Correct hydration is essential to help regulate your body temperature during exercise, assist in joint lubrication and help transport the nutrients you need to give you energy. So unless fluid is replaced, even if you don’t feel thirsty, you may become dehydrated which in turn will decrease your ability to train or race at your full capacity.
Signs of dehydration include muscle cramps, dizziness, stomach upset, increased heart rate, poor heat regulation, and a feeling of decreased ability.
A simple way to know if you are taking in enough fluid is by checking your urine colour. If you are dehydrated your urine will be a dark yellow, where as if you are well hydrated, it will be a very light yellow or almost clear. A more specific way is to weigh yourself prior to training/competing in minimal clothing. Immediately post training/competing, weigh yourself again in identical dry clothing on the same set of scales. The differences between pre and post exercise body weight should be consumed at 125-150% to ensure optimal hydration.
Pre-exercise weight – 70 kg
Post-exercise weight – 68.5 kg
Fluid deficit (L) = 70 kg – 68.5 kg = 1.5 kg
Total sweat loss (L) = 1.5 kg = 1.5L sweat loss
Water consumption needed to rehydrate (L) = 1.875L (125%) or 2.25L (150%)
It is however, also important to note that studies have shown hydrating with water alone is not enough during and after training/competing. An athlete should rehydrate with a drink that contains electrolytes to ensure fluid is retained in the body and is allowing full rehydration to occur.
Here at Pro4mance all of our drinks and gels contain electrolytes to assist the body in maintaining hydration. We suggest in the lead up to competing drinking Prodrate (our low carb hydration drink) each day while in your tapering stage to assist in reducing the chances of dehydration.
So make sure you stay adequately hydrated this winter and improve your training and racing.
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