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Don’t let dehydration ruin your race

Trusting your thirst may lead to dehydration
Photography iStock

When you’re dehydrated, it’s impossible to perform at your best – even a 1-2% reduction in total body water levels is enough to impair both physical and mental performance. So what’s the best approach to ensure you stay fully hydrated and reach your full potential? New research suggests that your water intake should match the fluids lost through exercise, and not simply rely on you drinking according to your thirst, according to the Medicine And Science in Sports and Exercise journal. It found that simply drinking when thirsty led to a dehydration level of 1-3%, whereas drinking a set amount like clockwork kept levels stable to improve athletic performance thanks to “lower thermoregulatory strain and greater sweating responses”.

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