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The total amount of water in the body is typically 50-60% of body weight. Of this, about two-thirds of the water exists inside the cells of our body, with the remaining third either between the cells, or in the bloodstream. Although it only makes up around 7% of total body water, the water that makes up our blood volume is crucial for athletes. A reduction in blood volume from dehydration has multiple negative effects for athletes during exercise:

  • Increased heart rate for the same level of effort, and reduced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles during high intensity exercise.
  • Reduced ability to transfer heat away from the body, leading to higher core body temperature and reduced performance.
  • Reduced blood flow and oxygen delivery to the gut during exercise, increasing the risk of gastrointestinal symptoms and damage to the gut lining.