Correlation of practical hydration testing measures Vs urine osmolality in the assessment and self monitoring of pre – exercise hydration status in a field environment. An observational study
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Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the degree of correlation between a variety of purported ways of assessing and monitoring hydration status in a field environment. Percentage body mass change, thirst perception rating and urine colour were correlated against urine osmolality, to establish whether these variables should be reliably promoted as an accurate, yet practical, ‘3-pronged’ approach in the assessment and self-monitoring of pre-exercise hydration status in a field environment. Methods: This is an observational non-experimental study, which included 22 club level rugby players. After establishing the average body mass of each participant, pre-exercise data was collected for the 4 variables being investigated. An ‘Osmocheck’ portable osmometer was used to collect quantifiable data on urine osmolality. Calibrated weightings and validated rating scales were used to capture other outcome measures investigated. SPSS software enabled calculation of descriptive statistics, Pearson’s product moment coefficient (r) and the coefficient of determination (R2). Results: Descriptive statistics for the mean and standard deviation of percentage body mass change, thirst perception, urine colour and urine osmolality were found to be (-0.55 ± 1.00%), (4.14 ± 1.36), (3.64 ± 1.65) and (517.73 ± 196.18mOsmol/KgH2O), respectively. Results showed strong relationships (largest size effects) in the correlation of urine osmolality with percentage body mass change (r = 0.862) and urine colour (r = 0.814), with the respective coefficients of determination (R2) calculated as 0.774 and 0.663. Percentage body mass change also strongly correlated with urine colour where r = 0.824 and R2 = 0.679. Conclusion: Findings suggest that, whilst acknowledging limitations exist in the study design, the ‘3-pronged’ approach investigated can be reliably promoted, serving as an accurate, yet practical, means of assessing and monitoring pre-exercise hydration status in a field environment.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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