Proper hydration of the body is essential to maintain its proper functioning. This is especially important for athletes – including those competing in motorsports.
Water allows us to quench our thirst, however this is not its only function. It plays a huge role in the proper functioning of every system in our body. Without proper hydration, numerous processes occurring in our bodies cannot take place properly. Water aids in the absorption of nutrients in the intestines and also enables digestive enzymes to work. And these are just some of its many functions, which highlight the crucial importance of this simple compound in the lives of drivers.
Fluid levels in the body should remain constant – otherwise we can lead to very dangerous dehydration. Water is part of every part and cell of our body. It is responsible for transporting minerals and removing toxic substances. Its very important role is also to maintain a constant temperature – both during hot weather and on cooler days. Racers have to deal with competitions in different weather conditions, but regardless of the situation, hydration is essential.
The first of the symptoms of dehydration is an increased feeling of thirst. This is followed by a headache, fatigue and increased susceptibility to stress. As a result, concentration significantly decreases, which may have tragic consequences on the rally route. Every competitor should therefore take care of hydration on a regular basis. The body loses about two liters of water per day, but this amount can increase significantly when participating in competitions.
Adequate hydration is very important to achieve optimal exercise capacity during competition. The amount of water needed for a given endurance driver is closely dependent on his or her sweating rate, body dimensions, age, and gender. It is also important to consider the circumstances under which the rally will take place – whether the day will be hot or slightly cooler. High ambient temperatures affect the amount of sweat your body secretes, so you should drink more on hot days.
For many years, studies have been conducted on how water affects driver behavior. This includes truck and car drivers, as well as racing and rally drivers. The Spanish automobile club published a study that indicated that dehydration reduces concentration levels by as much as 27 percent. When it comes to rally drivers, it can dramatically affect their performance and safety while driving. Trails require 100 percent commitment and focus in order to best navigate obstacles and respond to any adversity in a timely manner. Lack of sufficient water in the body of rally drivers can cause similar side effects as alcohol consumption.
A good car is not everything! What also counts is the fitness of the competitors, which depends on their overall mental and physical condition. Proper preparation before the rally is one of the factors that may have a decisive influence on the final results. Such competitions usually involve several days of intensive driving, which requires the drivers to be fully concentrated and in perfect physical condition.
Apart from preparation including various exercises and a well-balanced diet, proper hydration is extremely important. The optimal amount of fluids an adult should provide is about 2-2.5 liters a day. The dose should be appropriately increased if we are exposed to an increased physical effort and high temperatures. In such conditions a person sweats much faster – this is a significant source of fluid loss.
Drinking 2,5 liters of water just before the start of the rally is not the best idea. Too much liquid taken in at once can cause very great discomfort, and in extreme cases even vomiting. Before the route, drink about 200-600 ml of water, which will only partially fill the stomach – this way the driver will not lose the feeling of lightness and freedom.
The remaining amount of fluids should be replenished well in advance. The best solution is to drink small amounts regularly; this way the body will be in great shape all the time. Drinking several liters of water too quickly may result in various ailments.
Although it might seem that the work of a rally driver does not involve too much physical effort, the reality is quite different. During such rallies, almost all body muscles work. Drivers are tense, focused, and sometimes exposed to extremely harsh sun. Every competitor should keep in mind the proper preparation of the body, without which it will be impossible to achieve the desired success. Water is key to staying full throughout the course