The use of body mass changes as a practical measure of dehydration in team sports
Body mass changes, hematocrit, specific gravity and urine colour were recorded during two games of soccer to determine which of these methods was the most practical in a field setting for monitoring dehydration. Members (n=13) of a premiership soccer team with a mean age of 22.6 (+/-4.9) years old, height of 177.8 (+/-7.1)cm and sum of skinfolds (four sites) of 37 (+/-12.8) were invited to participate in this study with 11 participating in each game. Players had weight, hematocrit, specific gravity and urine colour recorded pre- and post-game. Players were allowed to ingest fluid ad libitum throughout the matches with the amount consumed recorded. Urine excretion was also recorded and included in the calculation of final body mass loss (kg). A mean ambient temperature of 21 degrees C and relative humidity 77% was recorded for both games. Pre- and post-game body mass, sweat loss, hematocrit, urine specific gravity and colour were significantly different (p<0.01) for both games. Linear mixed effects models were fitted to the data in order to identify an optimal prediction equation for sweat loss. The model predicting from mass change was clearly the best fitting. The results demonstrate that a change in body mass during a game of soccer is an effective method of monitoring dehydration due to sweat loss when compared to other known methods that may be invasive and inappropriate in the field.
Harvey, G, Meir, RA, Brooks, LO & Holloway, KM 2007, 'The use of body mass changes as a practical measure of dehydration in team sports', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 600-603.
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