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Hydration not connected to performance for athletes: study

A new study conducted at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, suggests that competitive athletes perform equally well regardless of whether they are hydrated or dehydrated, thirsty or not thirsty.

The study is published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports

Lead author Stephen Cheung says dehydrated athletes did have higher core temperatures and heart rates, which suggests their bodies were more stressed. (CBC)

A new Canadian study suggests constant hydration may not be the route to athletic success.

For decades the mantra in sports has been that people need to stay hydrated while exercising, because sweating out fluids and salts was thought to be bad for health and athletic success.

But a novel study conducted at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, suggests that competitive athletes perform equally well regardless of whether they are hydrated or dehydrated, thirsty or not thirsty.

Lead author Stephen Cheung says dehydrated athletes did have higher core temperatures and heart rates, which suggests their bodies were more stressed.

But he says they experienced no negative health effects and performed as well when dehydrated as when hydrated.

Cheung says the take-away message for the public shouldn't be that they don't need to top up their fluids while exercising, because severe dehydration is dangerous.

But he says the results do test the notion that people should be constantly rehydrating while exercising.

The study is published in the June issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

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