Dehydration and Athletic Performance – The Link

by Jay | Updated on October 22nd, 2022

Drink Water to Prevent Dehydration, Improve Sports Performance

Experts say that people should drink eight glasses of water daily, but athletes need to drink more than this for optimal sports hydration. Learn about the benefits of drinking water and why dehydration hurts athletic performance.

Consider the value of using sports drinks vs. drinking water. Use a hydration pack to help prevent dehydration during workouts. Understand why to stay hydrated to improve sports performance.

woman running competition

The Benefits of Drinking Water

Every person’s body is different, so there is no magical number for the right amount of water to drink to prevent dehydration. However, what’s true for everyone is that the benefits of drinking water are universal.

Drinking enough water regularly helps the body function properly, optimizing physical performance and bodily functions. However, not drinking enough water can lead to mild or serious dehydration, a serious medical condition. Know the symptoms of dehydration to help prevent dehydration.

Dehydration and Athletic Performance

Many athletes — even top-caliber athletes — routinely become slightly dehydrated during training and competition. By the time a person registers the feeling of being thirsty, they are already dehydrated. 

Studies have shown that a person who is as little as two percent dehydrated can experience up to a 10 percent decline in performance, and it gets worse from there.

Sports Drinks Vs. Water

Exercising depletes the body of fluids and causes the body to lose valuable electrolytes. Sports drinks aim to replace those electrolytes and the necessary fluids for rehydration.

Once a person is dehydrated, he must rehydrate with electrolytes and water. Since eating solid food requires liquid for digestion, it’s better to turn to sports drinks for the necessary electrolyte replacement once a person is dehydrated.

Choosing a Sports Drink

Wong says that most sports drinks are formulated with similar percentages of electrolytes and carbohydrates compared to one another. This means that taste, tolerability and price become the most important factors in choosing one.

Following are examples of electrolyte replacement drinks that, per 8 ounce serving, contain correct amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes.

  • Gatorade
  • Powerade
  • Exceed
  • AllSport
  • Hydra Fuel
  • Cytomax
  • Endura
  • 10K
  • Breakthrough

Wong warns consumers to beware of drinks marketed for athletes that are not electrolyte drinks. Instead, beverages to watch out for are vitamin fortified drinks, such as Propel Fitness Water, Glaceau VitaminWater, and energy drinks like Red Bull, RockStar, etc.

Prevent Dehydration with a Hydration Pack

The best way to prevent dehydration is to stay hydrated throughout the day, whether it’s a training or competition day or a rest day. It’s best to consciously drink water regularly throughout the day and drink every few minutes while working out or competing.

For many athletes, a hydration pack is an easy way to have water prominently and easily accessible when working out.

Improve Sports Performance with Optimal Sports Hydration

Athletes should take full advantage of the benefits of drinking water to prevent dehydration. Athletes can improve athletic performance with optimal sports hydration. Sports drinks can help replace valuable electrolytes lost to dehydration.

A hydration pack makes it easy to remember to drink water during exercise. With a little effort, athletes can ensure they take full advantage of the link between dehydration and athletic performance, maintaining optimal sports hydration for improved athletic performance.


Self assessed Germaphobe, specializing in everything water, water filters, health and nutrition. Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I've acquired immense amount of knowledge when it comes to natural, biology, and everything about human anatomy.