Fluid Balance in Team Sports
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- Burke, L.M. & Hawley, J.A. Sports Med (1997) 24: 38. doi:10.2165/00007256-199724010-00004
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Team sports require players to perform multiple work bouts at near maximal effort, punctuated with intervals of low intensity exercise or rest for the duration of a game. Such activity patterns are associated with a significant loss of body water which has a negative impact on physical and mental performance, as well as temperature regulation. There are a number of ways in which sweat losses incurred during team sports differ from those measured during prolonged, continuous exercise. Firstly, the work rate in team sports is intermittent, largely unpredictable and random in nature. Second, analyses of various team sports reveal that such games are characterised by a high degree of inter and intra-individual variability in work rates between players from the same sport. Finally, team players are less able to anticipate sweat losses than athletes competing in events which involve prolonged, continuous, moderate intensity exercise. Yet, compared with most endurance events, many team sports offer frequent opportunities to ingest adequate volumes of fluid and thus prevent exercise-induced hypohydration. The present review details the findings of modern studies which have determined body water losses and fluid intake practices of athletes from a variety of team sports. Special considerations which influence sweat loss and fluid intake that are unique to team sports are discussed, and guidelines for sound hydration strategies during training and competition are provided.