Footballers need a little drink
Taking regular sips of a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink during sports will help stamina according to new research from Brazil.
A group of researchers from the University of Sao Paulo found that footballers who took small amounts of a sports drink every 15 minutes during a 75-minute soccer game lost less body mass - a sign of being less dehydrated - and completed more sprints than players who drank no fluids during play.
'These findings show that drinking regularly during sports is a good thing,' study author Dr Isabela Guerra told Reuters Health.
'In a hot climate, we should think first about hydration because dehydration can put your life in danger. So we should always stay hydrated -- if we do it with water, it's okay,' she said.
But sports drinks may have an advantage over water, she added, since they contain energy, which may help during exercise. She recommended that soccer players and other athletes try to drink 'at constant intervals'. Perhaps 150-300 milliliters every 15 to 20 minutes.
Previous research has shown that soccer players who do not drink enough fluids during exercise may experience a spike in body temperature and heart rate. Moreover, drinking fluids helps maintain body mass during play, and losing as little as 2% of body mass can impair performance and mental functioning.
In the experiment heart rate and core body temperature were not significantly different between group who sipped carb drinks and those who did not.
It's important not to misunderstand this research. It is about small amounts of the right drink at regular time especially when playing in the heat. It is not about knocking back a can of carbonated sugar-water every five minutes. Incredibly enough for this sort of research, it was not, according to the researchers, funded by any companies that make sports drinks.
- You don't need to buy a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks. They're easy to make. Mix 500ml of a fruit juice drink (like Five Alive, Fruit Burst, Ribena or any similar drink that is not pure juice, but has added sugar) with 500ml water and 1/3 level teaspoon salt (a couple of pinches) to make a litre.
Page created on January 26th, 2005
Page updated on January 18th, 2010