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The importance of re-hydration during physical activity

Almost 75 % of the energy we use during exercising is transformed into heat and subsequently lost through sweat.For each litre of sweat we lose about 600 kcal. This lost needs to be replaced as soon as possible to avoid dehydration. The amount of sweat we produce is depending on how long we exercise the temperature and humidity of the surroundings and our body’s chemistry. A small person produces less sweat than a larger one. The production of sweat is also depending whether the person is fit and or acclimatised to warm conditions. In this case the person will sweat more due to a better functioning of the thermo regulation in the body.

Dehydration results in:

  • Extra stain on the lungs and circulation system
  • Reduce mental function
  • Physical activity becomes difficult
  • Gastric emptying slowed
  • Stomach cramps
  • Unable to sweat
  • Rising of body temperature as a result of not sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Heath stress
  • Death

Sports drinks

There are many different sport drinks on the market. Sport drinks regulate fluids faster than ordinary water because they contain electrolytes (minerals) and salt. These minerals are resolved in the body’s own fluid. These electrolytes exist out of the following minerals; sodium (salt), potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, phosphate and sulphate.

Sport drinks are good to re-hydrate the body because of the sodium it contains. For this reason the drink will make the athlete thirsty and invites him or her to drink more.

<u>Carbohydrate or energy drinks</u> have glucose added to them to speed up the absorption of the fluid and to provide the body with energy.

<u>Glucose Polymers</u> also known as the maltodextrins are a common ingredient in many specially designed sports drinks. They are made from a chemical with treated cornstarch, which produces 4-20 units of short chains of glucose molecules. These Glucose Polymers increase the carbohydrate content in a drink with effecting its concentration and speed of absorption.


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