We tell you everything you need to know about hydration in football. What do we need to drink before, during and after playing football?
In my last post I discussed invisible training in football and what it consisted of. Following on from that, today we’re going to look at the first element of that training: Hydration.
- 1. How many calories are burnt in a game of football?
- 2. Why is it important to stay well hydrated?
- 3. What happens if we become dehydrated?
- 4. How much fluid does a football player lose in match?
- 5. Loss of sodium
- 6. What effect does the temperature of our environment have?
- 7. Hydration Strategies
- 8. Conclusions
- 9. Bibliographic References
- 10. Related Entries
How many calories are burnt in a game of football?
Football, being an intermittent, high-intensity sport with a relatively high competitive duration (90 minutes), is also associated with having a very high energy consumption rate. On average, around 16 kcal/min (Bangsbo, 2006).
This energy expenditure causes fatigue in players, leading to an increase in body temperature.
Why is it important to stay well hydrated?
While it’s true that this phenomenon is indispensable for maintaining a temperature balance, the production of sweat will cause a loss of fluids in the body (Maughan et al., 2007), resulting in dehydration.
Clearly, then, when we play football (or do any other type of exercise), our body temperature increases, and we start to sweat. However, not so obvious are the effects of this sweating if we don’t replenish those lost fluids adequately.
What happens if we become dehydrated?
One of the principal effects of dehydration is a drop in performance level resulting from this loss of fluid, as much in terms of resistance, strength (Ali & Williams, 2013) and speed (McGregor et al., 1999).
How much fluid does a football player lose in match?
The average level of dehydration of a player over the 90 minutes of a football match is, approximately, 3,4% of body weight (Aragón-Vargas et al, 2009),
Loss of sodium
Along with the fluids we lose through sweating, our body also loses electrolytes, with the most significant of these being sodium.
What effect does the temperature of our environment have?
While it’s true that we sweat more as the temperature we’re playing in increases – our body temperature increases more and in a shorter period of time and our body needs to dissipate that excess heat.
It’s been shown that players competing at lower temperatures also suffer from considerable sweat-induced dehydration (Maughan et al., 2005).
In the next graphic you can see the fluids lost at different temperatures:
Average fluid loss and consumption over a 90-minute period. Team A: Sweat = 2193±365 mL, Intake = 972±335 mL. Team B: Sweat = 1690±450 mL, Intake = 423±215 mL.
Because of all this, having a good hydration strategy is indispensable – before, during and after training and matches.
With the aim of maintaining our body’s water and electrolyte balance and thus avoiding both a drop in performance and the dreaded injuries.
Alongside this, as during a match our muscles consume energy stored in glycogen form, it’s necessary that, in addition to replenishing fluids to avoid a drop in performance, we also need to replenish that fuel.
The ideal carbohydrate concentration for this type of drink is 4-8%.
Much scientific research of the last few decades has looked at hydration strategies in football.
If the loss of fluids leads to dehydration, it is essential we start matches perfectly hydrated. Prior dehydration will greatly accelerate the entire process detailed above.
Hydration during a Match
Once a match has started, the sweating mechanism and consequent elimination of fluids will be triggered.
However, as each half lasts 45 minutes, it’s quite difficult to follow this rule (except when there’s a “cooling or hydration break”), so we need to try hydrate ourselves whenever we can.
Hydration at Half-Time
The 15 minute break is the perfect time to replace both the fluids lost and the glycogen consumed during the first half.
Once the referee whistles for the end of the 90 minutes, it’s the moment to start thinking about recovery to be in the best possible shape for the next training session.
This rehydration process takes approximately 6 hours, so we should focus on fluid and electrolyte replenishment and consume, above all, water and juices or also some kind of recovery oriented drink.
To keep track of how much fluid you’ve consumed, I recommend using your own bottle both for water and the sports drink and making it part of your routine, both in training and in the game..
In conclusion, we should be conscious of our hydration level in football to guarantee:
- A correct water balance in our body.
- Being able to maintain performance level as high as possible during the whole training session or match.
- Sawka M.N., Burke L.M., Eichner E.R., Maughan R.J., Montain S.J., Stachenfeld N.S (2007). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacemen. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39:377-390.
- Maughan R.J., Shirreffs S.M., Merson S.J. y Horswill C.A (2005). Fluid and electrolyte balance in elite male football (soccer) players training in a cool environment. Journal of Sports Sciences 23: 73-79.
- Shirreffs, S. M. and R. J. Maughan (1998). Volume repletion after exercise-induced volume depletion in humans: replacement of water and sodium losses. Am J Physiol 274(5 Pt 2): F868-875.
- Ali, A, and C. Williams (2013). Isokinetic and isometric muscle function of the knee extensors and flexors during simulated soccer activity: effect of exercise and dehydration. J Sports Sci. 31(8):907-16.
- Aragón-Vargas, L.F., J. Moncada-Jiménez, J. Hernándes-Elizondo, A. Barrenechea, M. Monde-Alvarado (2009). Evaluation of pre-game hydration status, heat stress, and fluid balance during professional soccer competition in the heat. Eur. J. Sport. Sci. 9:269–276.
- Maughan, R.J., P. Watson, G.H. Evans, N. Broad, S. Shirreffs (2007). Water balance and salt losses in competitive football. Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab. 17, 583-594.
- McGregor, S.J., C.W. Nicholas, H.K. Lakomy, C. Williams (1999). The influence of intermittent high-intensity shuttle running and fluid ingestion on the performance of a soccer skill. J Sports Sci. 17(11):895-903.
- Bangsbo, J., M. Mohr, P. Krustrup (2006). Physical and metabolic demands of training and match play in the elite player. J. Sports Sci. 24:665-674.
- Aragón-Vargas, L. y Mayol-Soto, L. (2008). Hidratación en el Fútbol: ¿Qué hemos Aprendido hasta Ahora?. PubliCE.
- All you need to know about Hydration and Mineral Salts. Click here.
- What happens when we become dehydrated? We let you know at this link.