February 23, 2023
Don't forget to hydrate
Dr. Patrick Basset is a French anesthetist-recovery doctor who specializes in mountain rescue and sports medicine for ultra-endurance in hostile environments, and he believes we all need to know a little more about hydration.
“While overseeing sports events, I realized that our universities and schools do not teach us the serious pathologies linked to sports,” says Dr. Basset, who has been the medical director for the Paris marathon, the UTMB®, and the Tour de France for more than 10 years. “Furthermore, medical research does not receive proper funding, and this leads to athletes not knowing important health information.”
When Salomon’s product development team was working to better understand the topic of hydration, they turned to Dr. Basset, who is also the president of the medical committee of ITRA (International Trail Running Association) and the Ultra Sports Science (USS) donation fund, in charge of funding health research projects in sports, sharing research results and implementing health programs for athletes. Dr. Basset told them their needs more attention given to the topics of under-hydration and over-hydration, and that’s what he wants you to know, too.
In most cases, under-hydration is harmless because athletes will compensate for their lack of water sooner or later. It can be a real problem, however, if the athlete has taken non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. This can create a significant risk of renal failure if under-hydration happens.
Over-hydration is the most common mistake people make, and it can create a brain edema (swelling), which can be deadly. Brain edema requires early and urgent medical treatment, just like a heart attack would.
FINDING THE RIGHT LEVEL OF HYDRATION
To keep a proper level of hydration during endurance sports, Dr. Basset explains that you should drink when you feel thirsty before, during, and after the effort. That may sound simple, but many people forget. Another trick is to consumer salty food when you feel that your body needs it. As always, knowing and listening to your body is the best approach you can take.
CARRYING WATER REMINDS YOU TO DRINK IT
In recent years, hydration solutions have evolved greatly, making it easier to carry enough water for the athletic effort you’ll be undertaking, or at least until the next aid station of a race. Vests with flasks as well as handheld flasks are good examples of these new hydration solutions. Dr. Basset says that the fact these evolutions make water readily available at all times should induce a natural reflex in athletes to hydrate properly. In the future, he thinks that we need to create a culture aimed towards the natural and physiological needs of the human body.
“The body, when healthy, has a natural finesse way more powerful than any quantified hydration program.”