Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dehydration is a problem in combat sports

Date:
May 2, 2013
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Athletes in combat sports often try to shed body weight in order to compete against lighter and smaller opponents. A new doctoral thesis points to the human body’s limited ability to quickly recover following extensive short-term weight loss. Almost half of the studied athletes were severely dehydrated on the morning of their matches. Nevertheless, the athletes seem to focus on the mental advantages of the method.

Athletes in combat sports often try to shed body weight in order to compete against lighter and smaller opponents. A new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, points to the human body's limited ability to quickly recover following extensive short-term weight loss. Almost half of the studied athletes were severely dehydrated on the morning of their matches. Nevertheless, the athletes seem to focus on the mental advantages of the method.

Stefan Pettersson has studied the very best Swedish athletes in wrestling, taekwondo, judo and boxing. The data was collected via interviews with athletes on the Swedish national teams and by studying about 70 elite athletes' hydration status and food intake on match day.

All studied athletes compete in weight classes. In combat sports, it is generally considered beneficial to first lose a lot of weight prior to weigh-in and then drink and eat a lot before the match, with an ultimate purpose of being able to fight a shorter and lighter opponent than would otherwise be possible. Previous research shows that 80-90 per cent of all athletes in sports with weight classes adhere to this practice.

Athletes commonly abstain from food and drink for up to 24 hours prior to a weigh-in. They also often reduce their food intake for 96 hours in order to deplete stored carbohydrates. This dietary regimen is sometimes combined with sauna sessions intended to rid the body of even more water.

Pettersson's thesis sensibly addresses the perceived performance advantages resulting from the studied practices, but also the problems and demands that the rules in these sports present to athletes with respect to food intake, body weight and hydration. Analyses show that the athletes' ability to quickly recover from the dehydration was far from satisfactory. In fact, almost half of the studied athletes were severely dehydrated on the morning of match day.

'This could mean that their endurance, explosiveness and strength are reduced in their first fights. Previous research has also shown that their mental performance may suffer, which could imply a poor perception and ability to make quick decisions,' says Pettersson.

Pettersson has served as a nutritionist on the Swedish Olympic Committee's resource team for several years. He suggests that not only areas such as nutritional counselling and long-term weight management but also the rulebooks should be reviewed in order to reduce dramatic short-term weight loss in weight class sports.

'One way to deal with the problem would be to schedule the weigh-ins right before a match, or to do weigh-ins like today but add a second weigh-in right before a match with a rule for how much weight an athlete is allowed to gain in between. Yet new rules would probably not be enough. To make up for any lost mental advantages, the athletes may need some good mental coaching.'

The results show that many actors involved in the sports need to be made aware of the problems, including athletes, coaches, nutritionists, and sports psychologists. Furthermore, the international federations for the respective sports should seriously consider revising their rulebooks.

Further information: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/32321


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. The original article was written by Torsten Arpi. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Dehydration is a problem in combat sports." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502081736.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2013, May 2). Dehydration is a problem in combat sports. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502081736.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Dehydration is a problem in combat sports." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502081736.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins