The importance of hydration in winter for sports performance

Crown Sport Nutrition, a leading Spanish company and pioneer in the world of sports nutrition in endurance sports, tells us on this occasion, the importance for athletes of having a good hydration in winter.

Check all the articles published by Crown Sport Nutrition in Triathlon News.

Nowadays, athletes are increasingly aware of the influence that correct hydration and nutrition have on their performance, however, many they are unaware of the risks of dehydration, especially in cold climates.

Excessive dehydration (both starting dehydrated and not hydrating enough during the test itself) may decrease performance by 2,4%. 

A recent meta-analysis showed that starting a test dehydrated (with a loss of body weight greater than 2%) results in lower performance, especially the greater the dehydration (especially from a loss of 2,8% of body weight). ).

Can one get dehydrated in the absence of heat?

Although the ambient temperature significantly influences the level of hydration, during exercise, the body also needs to dissipate the heat generated by metabolic processes, mainly muscle contraction.

Keep in mind that in cold environments dehydration can have negative consequences for performance.

A recent study examined the effects of dehydration and heat individually and in combination to determine the impact on performance.

The results showed a marked decrease in performance when the two factors were combined.

Even so, dehydration individually also caused a rsignificant reduction in performance (5% in maximal oxygen consumption and 26% in time to exhaustion) even when body temperature was not elevated.

This means that, even without heat, dehydration can be a limiting factor for performance.

It has also been described that in cold environments a phenomenon called "cold induced diuresis”, which consists of a increased need to urinate, and therefore a increased fluid loss.

On the other hand, the body also releases fluid through respiration, although in this case in the form of vapor.

Therefore, although it is less than in hot environments, when exercising in cold environments we can also lose a large amount of fluid.

Is salt replacement important during exercise?

During exercise, not only liquids that must be replaced are lost, salts are also lost.

Therefore, their intake can maintain their importance in cool environments.

One study found that although the rate of sweating was slightly higher in a hot environment than in a cold one, the sodium concentration of that sweat was higher in the cooler environment.

Therefore, it is convenient replace salt losses with an electrolyte drink (and if possible also with carbohydrates to avoid fatigue and improve performance).

Excessive fluid intake with a low amount of electrolytes, such as when drinking large amounts of water, could result in a condition called hyponatremia, which is one of the main health risks in sporting events.

What should be taken into account when hydrating?

It is important to keep in mind that, although you must hydrate, excessive hydration and without the proper dose of minerals can be just as harmful as dehydration.

Therefore, when exercising, especially if it is high intensity and prolonged, drinking electrolyte drinks (and, if possible, carbohydrates to delay fatigue) may be the most recommended strategy.

What are the risks of excessive hydration?

Excessive fluid intake with a low amount of electrolytes can result in a condition called hyponatremia, which is one of the main health risks in events such as the marathon.

Related: The truth about hyponatremia

One study found that a 13% of participants in the Boston Marathon had hyponatremia.

Especially runners with less weight, who had invested more than 4 hours in completing the distance and who had consumed more than 3 liters during the race.

Therefore, although it is necessary to hydrate, excessive hydration and without the adequate dose of minerals can be as harmful as dehydration.


Although many athletes place an emphasis on hydration in hot weather, fluids and minerals are also lost in cold environments.

This loss of fluids and sodium can negatively affect performance. Therefore, it is It is advisable to drink electrolyte drinks when performing intense and prolonged exercise, especially if carbohydrates are included to curb fatigue.

We recommend the following Crown products


Premium isotonic with carbohydrates, salts and amino acids


High sodium capsules based on highly bioavailable mineral salts.


Drink with 90 g of carbohydrates in 500 ml of water and an extra sodium.


Deshayes TA, Jeker D, Goulet EDB. Impact of Pre-exercise Hypohydration on Aerobic Exercise Performance, Peak Oxygen Consumption and Oxygen Consumption at Lactate Threshold: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis. Sport Med. 2020;50(3):581-596. doi:10.1007/s40279-019-01223-5 Nybo L, Jensen T, Nielsen B, González-Alonso J. Effects of marked hyperthermia with and without dehydration on VO2 kinetics during intense exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2001;90(3):1057-1064. doi:10.1152/jappl.2001.90.3.1057 Bates GP, Miller VS. Sweat rate and sodium loss during work in the heat. J Occup Med Toxicol. 2008;3(1):1-6. doi:10.1186/1745-6673-3-4 Lara B, Gallo-Salazar C, Puente C, Areces F, Salinero JJ, Del Coso J. Interindividual variability in sweat electrolyte concentration in marathoners. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016;13(1):1-8. doi:10.1186/s12970-016-0141-z Almond CSD, Shin AY, Fortescue EB, et al. Hyponatremia among runners in the Boston Marathon. N Engl J Med. 2005;352(15):1550-1556. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa043901

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