Pickleball Magazine 1-3 | Page 41

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, is characterized by: • Extreme thirst • Irritability and confusion • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes • Lack of sweating • Little or no urination (urine produced is dark) • Dry, inelastic, shriveled skin • Low blood pressure • Increased heart rate • Fever • Delirium or unconsciousness HYDRATION BEFORE AN EVENT Hyperhydrate just before the start of play in hot weather. This can be accomplished by drinking 15-20 ounces of cold water or an electrolyte solution. Doing so will help delay the onset of dehydration. The maximum rate of fluid absorption by the gastro-intestinal tract during exercise is approximately 30 fluid ounces (890 ml) per hour. The rate of fluid loss through sweating during exercise in the heat is close to 60 ounces per hour. This means that with prolonged intense hot-weather exercise, the onset of dehydration is inevitable. Drinking about 8 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes is the most effective way to delay dehydration during hot-weather exercising. Understand that there is a large range among athletes when it comes to the volume of fluid lost while exercising in the heat. The rate is dependent upon the quickness of ingestion and absorption, the type of fluid ingested, the amount of sweating, the rate of gastric emptying, the intensity of training, plus the percentage of body fat, age and numerous other factors. Bottom line: Take time to understand your hydration capacity and experiment with sport drinks and the amount of liquid consumption during those hot pickleball days.  • Alan Bragman is a chiropractor living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a former Cat 3 cyclist and nationally ranked table tennis player and inline speed skater. He was on the medical advisory board at Bicycling magazine for 10 years and has written for numerous other sports publications. SPORTS DRINKS AND HYDRATION The three major physiological problems faced during physical exertion are the loss of water and electrolytes, elevation of body temperature, and depletion of energy reserves. In the 1960s, Gatorade was introduced as the first beverage designed to rehydrate the body quickly while improving performance. All sports drinks accomplish this same goal with a well-balanced mixture of water, sugar (carbohydrate) and salts (electrolytes). Sports drinks have four primary mechanisms that attempt to keep us functioning normally even during extreme physical exertion: They promote fluid absorption. According to Gatorade research, 6% is the ideal concentration of carbohydrate to achieve maximum fluid absorption (aided by the addition of sodium to the mixture). Sports drinks and fruit juices that exceed 7% slow absorption, according to the research. They promote rehydration. A properly formulated mixture of carbohydrate and electrolytes promotes rehydration. The addition of sodium also helps maintain body fluids. They supply carbohydrate energy. The addition of sugar to a sports drink provides energy to working muscles. This allows athletes to exercise harder and longer before depleting glycogen reserves. They encourage drinking. Sports drinks with salts and sugars make you want to drink sooner and more often. The body’s thirst mechanism doesn’t kick in to stimulate drinking until we are beginning to dehydrate. What does science say about claims by sports drink manufacturers that their products increase athletic performance? According to researcher Louis M. Burke of the Australian Institute of Sport in Victoria, “During endurance and ultra-endurance exercise, suitable intake of a sports drink to preserve hydration and to supply additional carbohydrate substrate for glycogen-depleted muscles has been shown to improve performance.” In sum, sports drinks are a convenient way of taking in electrolytes and glucose, delaying the depletion of muscle glycogen and fatigue. Adding vitamins to sports drinks has no proven benefit and may adversely affect the taste. If a sports drink has a carbohydrate level greater than the recommended 6%, you should dilute it to avoid the risk of stomach upset. JUNE 2016 | MAGAZINE 39