An interesting question has arisen between doctors from different schools about the benefits to be gained from reintegrating the weight loss that is commonly suffered during prolonged physical activity such as running a marathon.
Almost all experts and sports authorities claim that losing more than 2% of weight in competition undermines athletic performance, but a recent study in South Africa published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, by contrast, claims that losing at least 3% of body weight while racing significantly increases the chances of performance improvement.
The researchers collected data on 643 participants, 560 men and 83 women, who completed the French marathon of Mont Saint Michel in the classic 42.195 km distance. All participants were weighed immediately before the race and immediately after arrival. The aim was to find a relationship between the end results and weight loss.
The results were very different than expected, with the researchers finding that the data ranged from 8% weight loss to 5% gain.
And this despite the fact that all participants were asked to drink 250 ml of water or energy drink every 20 minutes of running. Even the weather conditions were not likely and quite favorable with temperatures ranging from 9 ° to 16 ° Celsius. The athletes who had the best times were the ones who lost the most weight. Here is the data:
- Runners who complete a marathon in 4 hours lost, on average, less than 2% of their body weight;
- Those who took 3 to 4 hours lost 2.5% of their body weight;
- Those who finished running within three hours lost at least 3% of their body weight.
Another interesting thing the researchers found is that weight loss seems to be gender and age insensitive.
Finally, always in line with what the researchers said, who has gained more weight, a lot drank, got worse results.
Authors believe the sports drink industry has played a key role in preparing athletes to consume more fluids than they need.
“body does not force the brain to consume more water than necessary. Therefore, drinking them is not a necessity, but a condition dictated by campaigns to target the sports industry, ”they said.
But besides the controversy between scientists, how do you know when to drink, even before you get thirsty?
In this regard, Dr. Marco Castellazzi tells us that “if you have dry mouth and lips, your body triggers an alarm bell: you must drink. Always carry fresh water or unsweetened liquids with you: this is the best way to drink, meeting your hydration needs even before the body makes an explicit request. With urine, you receive a clear indication, which in case of dehydration appears very concentrated and dark yellow in color, if, instead of being properly hydrated, the urine appears clean, abundant and clear. Another method to immediately understand if your hydration is sufficient is to lift the skinfold of the hand and see how much skin it takes to return to its aligned position, the more water is lacking, the more the skinfold will slowly return to its place. … Remember also that often in older people and in some pathologies, the feeling of thirst changes, and sometimes it is unreliable. Good hydration is essential for proper bowel function and adequate urine output. Remember that two-thirds of the body is water. ”