Drink before, during and after physical activity
For sportspeople, it is helpful to know that drinking the correct amount and type of water also increases muscle tone. The equation is: more energy, less cramp and fatigue. There are other rules to be noted: first of all, remember to drink water at ambient temperature, and never cold, in order to avoid possible thermal shock.
Another warning relates to winter sports because, even skiing at low temperatures you lose a lot of water, which is clearly visible in the form of water vapour leaving the mouth. In water sports, too, water consumption must be kept under control, because contact with water stimulates loss of urine.
You should therefore drink up to 30-45 minutes before physical exertion, but no later, in order not to stimulate passing of urine while doing sport. Fluid intake during the activity is just as important, especially if this is over an extended period of time. Usually the recommended re-intake is 1/4 litre every 15 minutes, not accounting for the temperature and humidity of the location, and of the type of effort exerted. In contrast, at the end of the activity it is advisable to take small sips every 15 minutes in order to regain the balance in the body.
Unfortunately, in modern life, we consume large amounts of drinks like cola which are extremely acidic. These drinks contain high levels of phosphoric acid, which is a strong acid capable of poisoning a person if it is not neutralised quickly. Cola (regular or diet) has an extremely low (i.e. acidic) pH of around 2.5. Since the pH scale is logarithmic (a reduction of 1 in pH means the acidity is multiplied by 10), a pH of 2.5 would mean serving 3200 glasses of alkaline water with a pH of 8, or 32 glasses with a pH of 10 in order to neutralise the acid contained in just one glass of cola! (1). Fortunately, our bodies, which are vehicles of inexhaustible resources, compensate for this imbalance, but it is extremely inadvisable to consume these drinks.
Frequent consumption of non-alcoholic drinks containing phosphoric acid (i.e. cola) is a risk factor for various diseases, including calcium loss in bones. The answer may be to consume alkalising mineral water which helps to maintain bone health and improve digestive function. In fact, it has been shown that there are possible benefits of alkaline drinking water with a pH of 8.8, and as an adjuvant for treating reflux disease (2).
A complete review, comparing an alkalising diet with an acidic diet, concluded that an alkalising diet improves bone density and nitrogen balance, among other things, while low-level acidosis originating from an acidic diet contributes to bone loss, osteoporosis and muscle loss (3).