Hydration during intense exercise training

Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:25-37. doi: 10.1159/000350225. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


Hydration status has profound effects on both physical and mental performance, and sports performance is thus critically affected. Both overhydration and underhydration - if sufficiently severe - will impair performance and pose a risk to health. Athletes may begin exercise in a hypohydrated state as a result of incomplete recovery from water loss induced in order to achieve a specific body mass target or due to incomplete recovery from a previous competition or training session. Dehydration will also develop in endurance exercise where fluid intake does not match water loss. The focus has generally been on training rather than on competition, but sweat loss and fluid replacement in training may have important implications. Hypohydration may impair training quality and may also increase stress levels. It is unclear whether this will have negative effects (reduced training quality, impaired immunity) or whether it will promote a greater adaptive response. Hypohydration and the consequent hyperthermia, however, can enhance the effectiveness of a heat acclimation program, resulting in improved endurance performance in warm and temperate environments. Drinking in training may be important in enhancing tolerance of the gut when athletes plan to drink in competition. The distribution of water between body water compartments may also be important in the initiation and promotion of cellular adaptations to the training stimulus.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Body Water
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Dehydration*
  • Drinking*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Water*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance*


  • Water