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Remaining well hydrated is very important especially during the summer months and for anyone participating in physical activity. Dehydration can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches and sluggishness, resulting in loss of playing time and a decrease in performance. When it comes to hydration there are many things to consider: Which is better water or sports drinks? Are there times when one is better then the other? How do you determine how much to drink? Is it possible to over-hydrate yourself? And does a hydration strategy change with age?

Feature Articles


Hydration and Exercise

Good hydration at any level of exercise participation is important in preventing unnecessary cardiovascular stress as well as many of the other side effects of dehydration such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and sluggishness. It is particularly important in hot and humid weather when sweat loss is much greater. Most of us do not consume enough fluid on a daily basis and therefore spend much of our lives in a permanent state of dehydration, albeit a relatively minor one, and with little noticeable effect on our lives other than the odd headache or feeling of lethargy. However add physical activity to the equation and good hydration becomes essential to staying healthy and at elite levels, particularly in endurance related sport, it could mean the difference between winning and losing.

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Supplementary Article: Development of Individual Hydration Strategies

Clinical Hydration Measurement

Dehydration and heat related injuries may result in loss of playing time, decrease in performance, decrease in overall health, and death. Because dehydration is one of the primary signs of exertional heat illness, health professionals treating high-risk populations should measure hydration status as a preventive procedure. Urine specific gravity, change in body mass, urine color, urine osmolality, and plasma osmolality are common measures of hydration status, and each method presents advantages and limitations.

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Supplementary Article: Maintaining Water Balance


Hyponatremia is defined as an abnormally low concentration of blood sodium –less then 35 millimoles per liter. Exertional hyponatremia results from excessive intake of low-sodium fluids during prolonged endurance activities –that is, drinking a greater volume of fluid than the volume lost in sweat –and possibly, to a lesser extent, from inappropriate fluid retention.

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Supplementary Article: Water: Don’t Overdo it

The Science of Water

Water is colorless, tasteless and odorless. Because of its numerous and diverse functions in the body, it is often regarded as the most important nutrient. Most people can survive no more than 7 days without water. Although there is rigorous proof of its benefits, scientists still have trouble objectively advising people how much they need to drink daily to maintain favorable health. This article will plunge in for a look at this mysterious nutrient called H20.

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Supplementary Article: Water: Who Needs it?

Sports Drinks

Almost everyone you talk to has an opinion on sports drinks. The spectrum ranges from pure skepticism ("They're just another useless, over-marketed sugar-laden product") to absolute endorsement ("Sports drinks are my most valuable training aid, and I couldn't live without them"). So which is it? Athletes regularly encounter dehydration and hyperthermia and some fall victim to the consequences. These can range from slightly impaired performance to extreme heat illness. Hydration status is a critical determinant of an athlete's physiological capacity to train, compete and recover successfully. Even slight dehydration (e.g., a 1%-2% loss in body weight, 1.5 lb.-3 lb. for a 150 lb. person) has a negative effect on physiological function and performance.

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Supplementary Article: Sports Drinks

Fluids for Youth Athletes

From late spring to early fall, hot and humid weather is common, which makes staying properly hydrated increasingly important. As compared to adult athletes, youth athletes sweat less, produce more heat, and are less able to transfer heat from muscles to skin while exercising. Additionally, children have a greater ratio of surface area to body volume as compared to adults, and therefore are exposed to a faster influx of heat when environmental temperature exceeds skin temperature. Thus, youth athletes are at especially high risk for exercise-induced dehydration. The following reviews characteristics of dehydration and provides guidance to promote proper hydration for the youth athlete.

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Supplementary Article: Heat and Physical Activity

News from SIRC

Capture the Moment -Photo Contest!

Do you like taking sport photos? Here’s your chance to win great prizes, get international exposure as well as have your photo included in Canada’s National Sport Library. SIRC is holding a “Capture the Moment” photo contest! We are trying to collect photos that capture all the various moments of people in sport.

Contest Opens July 20, 2009

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Ask A SIRC Librarian

SIRC members have access to SIRC librarians and we are pleased to share some of your questions.

Dear SIRC Librarian:
I am an amateur triathlete training for an Ironman. Originally I was concerned with dehydration when I was training but recently became more aware of the serious effects of over hydration. Do you have any information on this topic? Are there signs and symptoms of over hydration that I should be aware of?


Toronto, ON


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