THE IMPORTANCE HYDRATION IN COMPETITIVE SAILING

As temperatures climb again, it is important to remember how important a regular intake of fluids is to be able to maintain performance capability.

The consequences of a lack of fluids –

Effects on mental performance

  • Mental tiredness increases, attentiveness and concentration decrease.
  • Co-ordination ability decreases; special manoeuvres don’t work anymore as they should
  • Decisiveness is impaired and this has negative effects on our tactical decisions.
  • Distances and angles are harder to judge and the chances of an incorrect decision increase. 

Effects on physical performance

  • The cardio-vascular and central nervous systems are affected, causing an increased pulse rate, lower blood pressure and loss of muscle strength.
  • Physical tiredness leads to lower performances in all areas; all movements become subjectively more strenuous. 
  • Even a reduction of the body mass, caused by lack of fluids, can reduce muscle strength by up to 6%.

The consequences of loss of water –

An 80kg sailor only has to lose 1.2 kg in order to feel negative effects on mental and physical performance.

Even with light physical effort under moderate conditions, say 18-22 degrees, the rate of perspiration equals 400ml per hour.

If we assume the sailor is on the water for 2 hours including the journey to the race and waiting time, even before the first race of the day starts, the critical limit of 1.2kg will be reached by the end of the first race.

Normal sailing clothing and sailing in warm areas will heighten these effects. 

If you are thirsty its already too late

Recent research results confirm that light dehydration can affect your mood,your energy level and the ability to think.

According to the opinion of hydration experts, our sensation of thirst does not occur before the body mass has reduced by 1-2%, and dehydration has already begun. 

At this stage, our mental and physical performance are generally already lowered.  

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