Jon Snow did warn us… winter is here! Being British we have no other expectations for the winter apart from rain and freezing temperatures which means that the majority of us have to brave the zero degree climate during the winter tennis season. But how does playing in freezing conditions affect for our tennis performance?
Let’s talk dehydration….
A 2% fluid deficit has been shown to affect tennis performance by a visible amount, specifically reducing skill and decision making abilities on court.
Although some dehydration is inevitable, it’s important to keep the fluid deficit to a minimum before, during and after tennis practise or a match to avoid any performance drops.
What does this have to do with the cold weather?
In the cold we tend to wrap up warm, which can mean our sweat rate is higher than normal underneath all the layers.
The cold climate blunts our thirst mechanism – when we play tennis our body temperature rises. For the body to stay in a balanced state it needs to cool itself down, and it does this by releasing sweat. The sweat will be a mixture of water and electrolytes (salt). The fluid lost needs to be replaced during exercise to maintain fluid balance and avoid dehydration. With the combination of the cold weather and a blunted thirst mechanism, it’s easy to forget to take on board fluids and therefore become mildly dehydrated.
So remember when playing tennis in cold temperatures it’s important to monitor your fluid balance, to avoid dehydration you need to replace your fluid losses via sweat by 150%.
There are various techniques that can be used to measure your sweat losses. On average, a tennis player will lose between 1-2.5 litres of sweat per hour. It is recommended that the replacement of fluids is achieved through a mixture of water and electrolytes which can be consumed via sports drinks, coconut water or a mixture of water and salty foods, depending on personal preference.
Don’t let mild dehydration be the deciding factor. Control the controllable!
Yours in Health,
Former Totally Tennis performance player Steph Catlin has founded Food Is Life, a sports nutrition consultancy business based in Basingstoke. If you would like to learn more about how to achieve your personal nutrition goals and for specific personal advice please contact Steph directly via firstname.lastname@example.org via her website www.foodislifeuk.com or visit her social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Read more of Steph’s nutrition advice in previous post Is Nutrition The Missing Puzzle Piece to Your Ultimate Tennis Performance