December 3, 2022

Not only in sport, but also at work, dehydration can lead to a decrease in performance. If your water balance is upset, everything in your body slows down and your metabolism doesn’t work properly. Not to mention the serious consequences that inadequate hydration can have, such as permanent fatigue, headaches, lack of concentration, digestive and circulatory problems.

  • What exactly happens with 2% fluid loss?

You feel unwell, your concentration and reaction times are affected. And this obviously leads to poor performance, whether at work or in sport.

  • And what happens with 3-5% fluid loss?

Symptoms of increased dehydration include dry mouth and, as the renal excretory processes are weakened, drowsiness, nausea, mood disturbance, muscle cramps, hallucinations and fainting.

What can we do to drink enough fluids?

The European Hydration Institute (EHI) points out that the first thing we need to do to stay properly hydrated is to adopt new, conscious habits that go beyond the usual 8 glasses of water a day. We should replace 20-30% of our body’s fluid losses from foods with high water content, such as vegetables, fruit and soups, and the remaining 70-80% from fluids, mainly water and herbal teas.

What about at work?

  • We lose more fluids due to lower humidity caused by air conditioning, so we need to pay more attention to eating and drinking foods and drinks with a high fluid content. For sedentary workers, the average daily fluid requirement is 2-2.5 litres.
  • In physical work, sweating often exceeds fluid intake, and this is exacerbated in the summer by the scorching sunshine outdoors, or even indoors in a high humidity and hot environment. Working in these conditions can increase the daily fluid requirement to 4-5 litres. Take frequent breaks to regain energy and drink a glass of water. It is in everyone’s interest to do this, as adequate hydration can maintain work efficiency over the long term.

What to do while exercising – 3 important rules to follow: 

  • The first rule is that athletes should stay hydrated throughout their day, not just during training. The goal is to keep up with changes in their hydration needs throughout the day, adapting to their activity level and environment. People who exercise continuously should take extra care to drink fluids before they feel thirsty, not just when they are actually thirsty.
  • The cliché golden rule is: the more you sweat, the more you drink. During exercise, dehydration can cause rapid heartbeat, muscle cramps or nausea, so it’s important to stay hydrated for these reasons alone. 

What to look out for? 

There are individual differences, but it is advisable to drink 5 decilitres of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise. Drink 2 decilitres immediately before exercise, 2 decilitres every 20 minutes during exercise and 2 to 3 decilitres 20 minutes after exercise.

  • The third key point is to ensure that you drink not only the right quantity of fluid during exercise, but also the quality of the fluid, as the salt and mineral content of the fluid you lose (e.g. sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron or copper) should be taken into account. ) For this reason, you can also choose from a range of sports and isotonic drinks during exercise, which contain ingredients that replenish the water, salts, minerals and electrolytes lost through sweating and play a role in making up for the body’s energy deficits.