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The Effects on Dehydration & Body Temperature During Exercise

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Hypohydration and Hyperthermia Impair Neuromuscular Control after Exercise.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine. Nov 2012.

Purpose of study: To evaluate the effects of dehydration and high body temperature during exercise on movement technique and balance.

Introduction: Lower extremity musculoskeletal injuries such as ankle sprains or pulled calf muscles due to sport and physical activity are extremely common and costly. Besides being associated with great financial costs, these injuries are also associated with devastating long-term consequences, such as the early development of osteoarthritis or constant discomfort. These consequences demonstrate the need for effective injury prevention. The first step towards effective lower extremity injury prevention is identifying and understanding the risk factors for injury. Previous schools of thought have suggested that fatigue may be the significant risk factor to injury. However, all previous studies in the matter have not isolated the three factors of dehydration, high body temperature and fatigue to accurately access the risk.

In this study we isolated four quadrants of athletes and fatigued all athletes equally to access the effects of both dehydration and hot body temperature on movement and balance.

  1. Cool Body Temperature and Properly Hydrated
  2. Hot Body Temperature and Properly Hydrated
  3. Cool Body Temperature and Dehydrated
  4. Hot Body Temperature and Dehydrated

Discussion: Movement technique and balance have been shown to be risk factors for lower extremity injury. The most important finding of this study was that movement technique during a landing task is negatively affected when an individual is dehydrated and hyperthermic (high body temperature). However, exercising in a hot environment or while dehydrated does not independently alter neuromuscular control, as measured by movement technique or balance ability. These findings emphasize the need for proper hydration during exercise in hot environments in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Conclusions: Dehydration during exercise in the heat impairs neuromuscular control. These findings suggest that physical activity in the heat while dehydrated may affect parameters associated with a higher risk of injury. Make sure to stay hydrated if you are exercising, especially if it is in the heat.

Read the full study for more information on the methods used and the documented results: Hypohydration and Hyperthermia Impair Neuromuscular Control after Exercise.

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