Drinking too much during race ‘cuts runners’ chances of winning’

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LONDON - It has always been believed that runners should keep their bodies hydrated during races and so, drink a lot of fluids during a race or a marathon, but a new study has claimed that drinking too much could hamper their chances of winning.

Researchers found that those who finished a race fastest had also lost the largest proportion of their body weight. Conversely those who actually gained weight during the race performed the worst.

643 competitors were advised to drink 250ml of either water or a sport drink every 20 minutes during the race.

The fastest finishers had lost three per cent or more of their body weight.

Those finishing in between three and four hours lost an average of 2.5 per cent of their body weight and those finishing in more than four hours lost two per cent in weight.

Almost one in ten runners actually gained weight and finished the slowest.

“Interestingly, 9.5 per cent of runners in this sample overdrank and gained body weight during the race. “There is no benefit to overdrinking during exercise. Instead significant overdrinking will cause potentially fatal exercise-associated hyponatraemic encephalopathy,” the Telegraph quoted Professor Timothy David Noakes, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, as saying.

“Such overdrinking was neither promoted by the information provided by the race organisers nor encouraged by the relatively few aid stations located only every 5km,” he added.

“Rather, such overdrinking most likely results from specific messaging directed, especially by the sports drink industry.”

A spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association said, “Sports drinks are designed with the help of the latest sports science and there is a range of them, each intended for a specific sporting purpose or need.

“As you would with the equipment or footwear you need, it makes sense to choose the right drink for your sporting activity.”

The results are published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (ANI)

Filed under: Sports

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