Sunday, December 03, 2006

Medical Lesson

So recently I've noticed that I must intake more fluids to ward off dehydration than I had to when I was younger. I find myself battling the symptoms for 2 to 3 days after playing hockey. Granted I skate and play hockey quite a bit, so I am battling dehydration most of the time. Which is why, I have cut back on alcholol conspumption to the very rare occasion.
Now I know all about the needs to hydrate properly. You see I've been through hell weeks in the August suns of two-a-days in football when the mercury topped 90 and humidity was at 90%, and I wrestled for a long time. Both scenarios taught the importance of proper hydration.
Back then water and Gatorade where the main staples and they still are. However, there is a ton research out there and a lot of other choices in the form of energy drinks, which though tasty, are pretty much liquid sugar and speed.
So what am I to do with all these choices. Do I grab water, gatorade, powerade, juice, milk, chocolate milk, energy drink, a certain mix of them all?
Well, lucky for me I just read something interesting. Chocolate milk when injested after a workout actually helps the body. So there is an option. Water is always good as are sports drinks like powerade and gatorade. Energy drinks, though giving a sugar boost, don't help the body recover or replenish fluids.
This leads to the Seven Rules of Hydration:
Seven Rules of Hydration

1. The rate of passage of water from your stomach into your small intestine depends on how much fluid is actually in your stomach. If there is lots of water there, fluid flow from stomach to intestine is like a springtime flood; if there is little water, the movement resembles a lightly dripping tap. Therefore, to increase stomach-intestinal flow (and overall absorption of water) you need to deposit a fair amount of liquid in your stomach just before you begin your exercise. In fact, 10-12 ounces of fluid is a good start. This will feel uncomfortable at first, so practise funneling this amount of beverage into your "tank" several times before an actual competition.

2. To sustain a rapid movement of fluid into your small intestine during your exertions, take three to four sips of beverage every 10 minutes if possible, or five to six swallows every 15 minutes.

3. If you are going to be exercising for less than 60 minutes, do not worry about including
carbohydrate in your drink; plain water is fine. For more prolonged efforts, however, you will want the carbohydrate.

4. Years of research have suggested that the correct concentration of carbohydrate in your drink is about 5 to 7%. Most commercial sports drinks fall within this range, and you can make your own 6% drink by mixing five tablespoons of table sugar with each litre of water that you use. A bit of sodium boosts absorption; one-third teaspoon of salt per litre of water is about right. Although 5 to 7% carbohydrate solutions seem to work best for most individuals, there is evidence that some endurance athletes can fare better with higher concentrations. In research carried out at Liverpool John Moores University, for example, cyclists who ingested a 15% maltodextrin solution improved their endurance by 30 per cent compared to individuals who used a 5% glucose drink. The 15% drink also drained from the stomach as quickly as the 5% one, though many other studies have linked such concentrated drinks with a slowdown in water movement.

5. A 6% "simple sugar" drink will empty from your stomach at about the same rate as a fancy 6% "glucose polymer" beverage, so don't fall for the idea that the latter can boost water absorption or enhance your performance more than the former, and don't pay more for the glucose-polymer concoction.

6. Contrary to what you've heard, cold drinks aren't absorbed into your body more quickly than warm ones. However, cold drinks are often more palatable than warm ones during exercise, so if coldness helps you to drink large quantities of fluid while you exert yourself, then keep your drinks cool.

7. Swilling drinks during exercise does NOT increase your risk of digestive-system problems. In actuality, most gut disorders that arise during exercise are caused by dehydration, not from taking in fluid. Dehydration induces nausea and discomfort by reducing blood flow to the digestive system, so by all means keep drinking!

It is funny, my hydration strategy isn't all that different than it was when I wrestled back in the day and was getting thrwon by Nate Carr and John Smith (they're Olympic medalists and both kicked my ass in high school...they had already won Olympics medals when I got thrown around by them). But it does differ quite a bit too. It's not a before, after, during practice thing anymore, it's a 24/7/365 thing now.

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