Why is hydration so crucial for rugby players?

George Kruis
George Kruis

The question of what makes adequate hydration so important for rugby players might seem a straightforward enough one to answer; after all, the mere act of exercising causes sweating, and with it, the loss of water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates.

So, the main energy that the body depends on will be depleted by a tough game of rugby. This, in turn, will bring about the need to drink fluids in order to replenish the water, electrolytes, and energy.

However, not everyone who partakes in rugby – whether on a professional or amateur basis – necessarily understands the full context of what makes hydration an especially crucial priority when playing this sport.

Fluid replenishment in rugby doesn’t always get the focus that it should.

When it comes to the subject of how one can best rise to all the varied challenges of a rugby game, hydration isn’t always talked about as frequently as it perhaps ought to be.

That might be partly because, compared to such subjects as cardio programmes or leg workouts, the topic of restoring one’s fluids can seem disarmingly simple. Any vaguely capable and informed rugby player knows how important it is for them to keep drinking water.

However, the constant tendency for at least someone in the average rugby squad to forget to bring their water bottle to training, or to depend on whatever sports drink they can get out of the nearest vending machine, perhaps tells a different story.

The importance of hydration for rugby players might seem “obvious”. But it is worth reminding ourselves, nonetheless, that water really is the primary driver of a human being’s health, growth, and muscular development. There is no nutrient that is more critical to the task of achieving optimum athletic performance.

And that shouldn’t be a great surprise, given that the human brain does consist of more than 95% water. If water levels in the body drop too low, this can bring about such consequences as brain shrinkage, impaired cognitive and neurological functions, and slower muscular response.

Those combined factors could be easily enough to cause a winnable rugby game to be lost, for players who are otherwise doing all the right things to the deliver the finest possible athletic performance.

And it’s not as if a rugby player who is conscious about the need to perform at their very best can depend on simply waiting until they “feel” dehydrated before topping up. By that stage, their body will already be about 1% to 2% dehydrated – the equivalent of around one or two kilos of fluids – with real detrimental impacts on how well they can expect to fare in a match.

So, never underestimate just how crucial a responsible hydration regime is!

Whatever your own level and degree of engagement with the game of rugby may be, the above words will have hopefully reminded you of the integral role that proper and proactive fluid intake plays in the achievement of optimal performance on the pitch.

Here at fourfive, we believ in the power of hydration so much that we have developed our own renowned hydration supplements – our Hydro Plus tablets – to help ensure you replace the electrolytes that you lose through sweating.

With free delivery and money-saving subscription options also available for these acclaimed hydration supplements, they could be among the more sensible things that you purchase in support of your rugby goals this season!