This field investigation assessed differences (e.g., drinking behavior, hydration status, perceptual ratings) between female and male endurance cyclists who completed a 164-km event in a hot environment (35 °C mean dry bulb) to inform rehydration recommendations for athletes. Three years of data were pooled to create 2 groups of cyclists: women (n = 15) and men (n = 88). Women were significantly smaller (p < .001) than men in height (166 ± 5 vs. 179 ± 7 cm), body mass (64.6 ± 7.3 vs. 86.4 ± 12.3 kg), and body mass index (BMI; 23.3 ± 1.8 vs. 26.9 ± 3.4) and had lower preevent urinary indices of hydration status, but were similar to men in age (43 ± 7 years vs. 44 ± 9 years) and exercise time (7.77 ± 1.24 hr vs. 7.23 ± 1.75 hr). During the 164-km ride, women lost less body mass (−0.7 ± 1.0 vs. −1.7 ± 1.5 kg; −1.1 ± 1.6% vs. −1.9 ± 1.8% of body weight; p < .005) and consumed less fluid than men (4.80 ± 1.28 L vs. 5.59 ± 2.13 L; p < .005). Women consumed a similar volume of fluid as men, relative to body mass (milliliters/kilogram). To control for performance and anthropomorphic characteristics, 15 women were pair-matched with 15 men on the basis of exercise time on the course and BMI; urine-specific gravity, urine color, and body mass change (kilograms and percentage) were different (p < .05) in 4 of 6 comparisons. No gender differences were observed for ratings of thirst, thermal sensation, or perceived exertion. In conclusion, differences in relative fluid volume consumed and hydration indices suggest that professional sports medicine organizations should consider gender and individualized drinking plans when formulating pronouncements regarding rehydration during exercise.
Lawrence E. Armstrong, Evan C. Johnson, Amy L. McKenzie, Lindsay A. Ellis and Keith H. Williamson
Lawrence E. Armstrong, Elaine C. Lee, Douglas J. Casa, Evan C. Johnson, Matthew S. Ganio, Brendon P. McDermott, Jakob L. Vingren, Hyun M. Oh and Keith H. Williamson
Exertional hyponatremia (EH) during prolonged exercise involves all avenues of fluid-electrolyte gain and loss. Although previous research implicates retention of excess fluid, EH may involve either loss, gain, or no change of body mass. Thus, the etiology, predisposing factors, and recommendations for prevention are vague—except for advice to avoid excessive drinking.
This retrospective field study presents case reports of two unacquainted recreational cyclists (LC, 31y and AM, 39 years) who began exercise with normal serum electrolytes but finished a summer 164-km ride (ambient, 34±5°C) with a serum [Na+] of 130 mmol/L.
To clarify the etiology of EH, their pre- and post-exercise measurements were compared to a control group (CON) of 31 normonatremic cyclists (mean ± SD; 37±6 years; 141±3 mmol Na+/L).
Anthropomorphic characteristics, exercise time, and post-exercise ratings of thermal sensation, perceived exertion and muscle cramp were similar for LC, AM and CON. These two hyponatremic cyclists consumed a large and similar volume of fluid (191 and 189 ml/kg), experienced an 11 mmol/L decrease of serum [Na+], reported low thirst sensations; however, LC gained 3.1 kg (+4.3% of body mass) during 8.9 hr of exercise and AM maintained body mass (+0.1kg, +0.1%, 10.6h). In the entire cohort (n = 33), post-event serum [Na+] was strongly correlated with total fluid intake (R2 = 0.45, p < .0001), and correlated moderately with dietary sodium intake (R2=0.28, p = .004) and body mass change (R2 = 0.22, p = .02). Linear regression analyses predicted the threshold of EH onset (<135 mmol Na+/L) as 168 ml fluid/kg.
The wide range of serum [Na+] changes (+6 to -11 mmol/L) led us to recommend an individualized rehydration plan to athletes because the interactions of factors were complex and idiosyncratic.