Water has many uses in our lives. It is a basic nutrient essential for life itself. You can live days and maybe weeks without food, but in as little as a day, life can cease without water. Our body weight consists of between 50 – 75% water making it a major component of our body.

Alcohol is a compound made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is produced when yeast ferments sugars. Moderate amounts of alcohol can be consumed without adverse effects on health. When consumed, alcohol stimulates the secretion of highly acidic gastric juices, even when no food is present. This unnecessary acid can irritate the lining of the stomach and duodenum.

When Caffeine is consumed as a beverage it is virtually all absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract within approximately 45 minutes. Peak values of caffeine appear in the bloodstream about 1 hour after ingestion. After being absorbed into the blood and circulatory system and brain it is then transported to the liver where it is broken down ready to be eliminated.

It is probably fair to say that a good majority of athletes do not pay enough attention to their fluid requirements. However, before you can consider what effects exercise may have on the water balance on the body, you require a rudimentary understanding of:

a) Where and how the body stores fluids

b) How the body maintains these fluid levels and what factors can upset this fluid balance.

Little consideration is given to pre-exercise and post-exercise hydration. During the event, the hydration pattern is often haphazard, and yet athletes will spend hours planning their training sessions.

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