Sports Dietitians Australia Position Statement: Nutrition for Exercise in Hot Environments

Alan J McCubbin, Bethanie A Allanson, Joanne N Caldwell Odgers, Michelle M Cort, Ricardo J S Costa, Gregory R Cox, Siobhan T Crawshay, Ben Desbrow, Eliza G Freney, Stephanie K Gaskell, David Hughes, Chris Irwin, Ollie Jay, Benita J Lalor, Megan L R Ross, Gregory Shaw, Julien D Périard, Louise M Burke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)
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    It is the position of Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) that exercise in hot and/or humid environments, or with significant clothing and/or equipment that prevents body heat loss (i.e., exertional heat stress), provides significant challenges to an athlete's nutritional status, health, and performance. Exertional heat stress, especially when prolonged, can perturb thermoregulatory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. Heat acclimation or acclimatization provides beneficial adaptations and should be undertaken where possible. Athletes should aim to begin exercise euhydrated. Furthermore, preexercise hyperhydration may be desirable in some scenarios and can be achieved through acute sodium or glycerol loading protocols. The assessment of fluid balance during exercise, together with gastrointestinal tolerance to fluid intake, and the appropriateness of thirst responses provide valuable information to inform fluid replacement strategies that should be integrated with event fuel requirements. Such strategies should also consider fluid availability and opportunities to drink, to prevent significant under- or overconsumption during exercise. Postexercise beverage choices can be influenced by the required timeframe for return to euhydration and co-ingestion of meals and snacks. Ingested beverage temperature can influence core temperature, with cold/icy beverages of potential use before and during exertional heat stress, while use of menthol can alter thermal sensation. Practical challenges in supporting athletes in teams and traveling for competition require careful planning. Finally, specific athletic population groups have unique nutritional needs in the context of exertional heat stress (i.e., youth, endurance/ultra-endurance athletes, and para-sport athletes), and specific adjustments to nutrition strategies should be made for these population groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-98
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


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