Physiological consequences of hypohydration: exercise performance and thermoregulation

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992 Jun;24(6):657-70.


During exercise in the heat, sweat output often exceeds water intake, which results in a body water deficit or hypohydration. This water deficit occurs from both the intracellular and extracellular fluid compartments, and causes a hypertonic-hypovolemia of the blood. Aerobic exercise tasks are likely to be adversely affected by hypohydration; and the warmer the environment the greater the potential for performance decrements. Hypohydration causes greater heat storage and reduces one's ability to tolerate heat strain. The greater heat storage is mediated by reduced sweating rate (evaporative heat loss) and reduced skin blood flow (dry heat loss) for a given core temperature. Reductions of sweating rate and skin blood flow are most tightly coupled to blood hypertonicity and hypovolemia, respectively. In addition, hypovolemia and the displacement of blood to the skin make it difficult to maintain central venous pressure and thus an adequate cardiac output to simultaneously support metabolism and thermoregulation during exercise-heat stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Volume / physiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Body Water / physiology
  • Dehydration / physiopathology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Extracellular Space / physiology
  • Humans
  • Sweating / physiology