London, England
Tuesday 13th September 2011
Opinions are what make life interesting!  Opinions determine our identity, both socially & professionally, whilst further sparking the debates that illustrate our passion for what we do with our lives.  In exercise physiology circles one debate, centred around two fiercely defended opinions, seems to be commanding centre stage at many of the conferences I have frequented over the last 18 months or so.

The topic of hydration in sport & exercise is hardly a new topic & yet the divergent beliefs aligned to either side of the debate (regular hydration vs hydration as thirst promotes) seem to be more & more vehemently pushed in the publications I read.  This observation was perfectly illustrated at the BASES Conference I attended last November  in Glasgow, where the headline event was the debate between Loughborough University's Ron Maughan (regular hydration) & South African Tim Noakes - unfortunately the debate turned out to be a bit of a damp squib in most people's eyes...but nevertheless the lecture theatre was packed to the rafters for the spectacle.

Where do I stand on this?  Well, Ron was one of my main lecturers for my MSc Physiology course back in 2004/5 & the evidence I have researched over the years, aligned to personal experience would tip my balance in his favour.  However, Tim does make some valid points about the commercialisation of the evidence that has been bankrolled by the sports drinks manufacturers but I have seen too much of the experiments that have been conducted in Loughborough to agree with him that this has introduced a damning degree of bias.  I also struggle to agree with some of Tim's key arguments...for example, whilst I agree that humans roamed the plans chasing their supper in times gone by without the need to drink on a regular basis, that's not the same thing as performance sport & cutting edge skill execution.

So what do YOU think?

Well, the latest study concerning hyper-hydration & hyponatremia is being disseminated by Loyola University's Health System researchers including exercise physiologist Lara Dugas.  Dugas & co-authors reported that nearly half of the runners interviewed in their study were drinking too much during races.  Click here to read the press release by the Loyola Medicine Department promoting the paper's publication in the British Journal of Sports Medicine:

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