Exercise Physiology and Dehydration


Exercise physiology is the science that studies the body’s response to physical activity and sport. It aims at understanding how the body works when carrying out exercise, in addition to setting programs that improve physical fitness and help in weight loss, as well as controlling and preventing certain diseases. Research concluded that the correct combination of exercise duration and intensity enhances the quality of life and improves life duration. Exercise physiology reduces chronic health issues and obesity; it can manage and prevent certain illnesses and injuries, including cancer, diabetes, disabilities, as well as mental health illnesses.

Exercise physiology undertaken within hospitals concentrates on developing an exercise schedule based on the objectives, health risk aspects, physical capabilities and/or illness, providing lifestyle changes in order to enhance physical fitness and general health, and creating a home exercise schedule if possible and necessary. Outside hospitals, it can control your health problems, decrease the risk of hospitalization, and recover faster.

When people work out during hot weather, they lose a lot of fluids through sweating, leading to dehydration, which leads to a decline in exercise effectiveness and fatigue. Research discovered that the body has a coping mechanism when the supply of oxygen and blood flow decreases, through calculating blood flow to the brain, the blood speed, and the width of the internal carotid artery, which is the primary vessel providing blood to the brain. These calculations make it possible for us to discover the difference between the oxygen quantity entering the brain and determining the amount used in the metabolic process.

This research was carried on ten trained male cyclists to reach fatigue in hot weather and compare dehydrated and hydrated cases in a controlled environment. The published experiment findings state that exercising to the point of tiredness and dehydration result in a rapid decrease in brain blood flow; to make up for this, a rise in oxygen extraction from blood flowing in the brain preserves the brain’s capability to process oxygen and operate. These findings prove that the brain handles pressure and dehydration resulting from exercise better than muscles.

This makes sense since any little deterioration in the brain’s functions could have dangerous consequences, such as impacting the process of making plans and visuospatial processing. As the cerebral functions are affected, concentration decreases and this can have a serious effect, for example, when driving. Studies show that dehydrated drivers make more mistakes than hydrated drivers in a two-hour journey; this is like driving intoxicated by alcohol or sleep-deprived.

Hereunder are some daily changes to make to remain hydrated:

  • Have a water bottle next to you; this will make you subconsciously drink more.
  • Drink unsweetened tea with various flavors so as not to get bored of drinking water.
  • Substitute your dry snacks, such as chips, crackers, and pretzels, with snacks that have more water content, such as fresh and frozen yoghurt, or fresh smoothies.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, since fruits contain more than 90% water; for example, bell pepper, cantaloupe, cucumber, and watermelon, among others.
  • Drink more when eating and that will make you eat slower and remain hydrated.

We should pay more attention to exercise physiology to be able to boost our exercise regime and improve our quality of life. However, we must not forget to drink fluids regularly while exercising to stop the variations in body mass and temperature.








*Read the full article in SCIplanetSummer 2018 Issue "Science and Sports".

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