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Hydration for bowling

An important aspect of bowling nutrition, though often overlooked, is hydration.

Why drink

The body is composed of approximately 60% water, and an adequate amount of body water is essential for proper body function. The body keeps cool by sweating, though this results in the loss of body fluids and electrolytes. The amount of fluid lost depends not only on the environmental temperature but on the humidity as well. Although there are some electrolytes lost in sweat, particularly sodium and chloride, there is a much greater proportion of water lost. Therefore replacing the water is far more important than the replacement of electrolytes.

Affect on performance

A decrease of 2% of body weight is known to significantly decrease performance. For a 60 kg person, this equates to a loss of 1.2 kg. During bowling, players have been measured to lose between 0.2 to 0.6 liters of fluid per hour. Therefore, if the fluid is not replaced, players may be reaching a level which will affect their performance after only two hours. Greater levels of dehydration can potentially lead to health problems. Thirst is not a good indicator of when your body needs fluid. By the time you are thirsty, you probably have already lost more than 2% of your body weight.

What to drink

The ideal replacement fluid consists mostly of water. The temperature of the fluid should be cool not warm, as this enables more rapid movement of the fluid out of the stomach. Cool water also helps to reduce body temperature. If a tournament is going to last for an extended period, try to take drinks regularly (every 15-20 minutes). Also, you should aim to be well hydrated prior to exercise (a couple of glasses of water 15-20 minutes prior to playing). Drinking coffee or other drinks containing caffeine is not recommended. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it may cause the body to lose more fluid.

tenpin bowling alley tenpin bowling can be physically taxing

How much to drink

Most fluid is lost from the body through sweating. Fluid is also lost when you go to the toilet, and through the lungs. You can calculate how much fluid your body is losing. If you measure your body weight before and after training or before and after playing games, the difference between the two measures will tell you how much fluid you lost. Every 1 kg of body weight is equivalent to 1 liter of fluid. If you also take into account how much you drink, you can calculate how much fluid you lost through sweating.

With regular drinking you should be able to easily maintain a good body hydration level. For most bowlers hydration will not be a problem, but for some this is just another way of making sure you are physically in the best shape to perform.

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